More than 20 women suspected of being part of an elaborate family day care fraud syndicate have been arrested in Sydney.
Detectives initially charged 17 people in May over their links to a fake business called Red Roses Family Day Care.
It was alleged the illegitimate company raked in about $4 million in rebates in ten months alone by exploiting the federal government’s childcare subsidy scheme.
The company’s director alone pocketed $30,000 a fortnight, NSW Police said at the time.
A further seven women and one man were charged on Tuesday while another 16 women were arrested in Sydney’s southwest on Thursday morning.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott on Thursday said the government would consider changing legislation to close loopholes if the police recommended.
“There’s no lower act than somebody taking money fraudulently from the taxpayers of the state that should have been going towards the education and welfare of our children,” Mr Elliott said.
“I am extremely upset and disappointed, and indeed disgusted.”
Red Roses Family Day Care looked like a legitimate business operating out of multiple sites in Sydney and Wollongong.
It said it provided “safe, nurturing and loving” care to more than 450 children but police allege there were no real children, just photographs of them.
Play areas had been mocked up, time sheets faked and rosters fixed. They even ensured children were on site when they were audited.
“Every part of it from the bottom to the top was a falsehood,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith told reporters on Thursday.
Police in May revealed some 150 parents who claimed they had between three and seven children in care claimed rebates.
“If you’re a parent who has taken some sort of inducement to provide your child’s name to assist in this fraudulent activity, assume that police will arrest, charge and convict you,” Mr Elliot said.