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Horse trainer conned WorkSafe Victoria out of $67,000

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A horse training company and its director who defrauded nearly $67,000 in benefit payments from WorkSafe Victoria have been ordered to return the money to the state’s workers’ compensation scheme.

The Warrnambool Magistrates’ Court also fined Bandora Breaking $5000 with conviction and ordered it to pay costs of $3814, WorkSafe Victoria said in a statement.

Director Adrian Ireland was fined $7500 without conviction after pleading guilty to a single charge of failing to exercise due diligence to prevent the offence from occurring.

He had a claim accepted in March 2020 after being injured at work when a horse fell onto him, but initially wasn’t entitled to weekly payments because he was receiving director’s fees instead of a salary.

A few months later in July that year, a co-accused who worked at the company submitted a number of pay slips and a PAYG summary showing $68,304 in gross payments, falsely claiming the director’s income had changed from director’s fees to weekly wages prior to his injury.

WorkSafe accepted the documents and paid a total of $66,896 to Bandora based on the false information provided.

The fraud was uncovered after WorkSafe launched an investigation following the director’s failure to provide his bank account statements as requested.

WorkSafe Victoria says those who attempt to defraud the workers compensation scheme will face consequences.

“This type of behaviour undermines the scheme's ability to provide care and support to injured workers,” Insurance Business Unit Executive Director Roger Arnold said.

“WorkSafe won't hesitate to prosecute anyone who tries to cheat the system, including those providing false records in order to obtain money they’re not entitled to.”