By CELA on 26 Jun, 2020

It’s an ugly thought: to imagine that someone you trust is stealing from your organisation, perhaps directly from the families and children. Even so, it isn't uncommon in Australia for a court hearing to be held for fraud in an early learning or school setting.

The culprit might be a long-serving employee, a junior trainee, or a volunteer. It might be your boss, or someone in head office, or an external supplier. In one historical case, the fraudster had awards for his community service.

A Melbourne pensioner and Order of Australia recipient who used hundreds of thousands of dollars from a charity he helped found to buy alcohol, lingerie and cigarettes has been ordered by a court to repay more than $1 million

The County Court heard more than $1.5 million in cash was paid by parents for child care between 2013 and 2016, but just $56,000 was deposited in the association’s bank account during the same period.

In another, it was a centre director who perpetrated the crime. 

On 26 May 2017, 29-year-old [director] was sentenced by the New South Wales District Court to 7 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 4 years for fraudulently claiming $3,646,269.72 in child care benefits, forging documents and dealing with the proceeds of crime.

It is the largest single case of proven childcare fraud in Australia’s history.

We consulted the experts for ways to help you spot fraud in your education service and, most importantly, to prevent it happening.

This Simple Guide shows you four places you might find fraud in an education service, and most importantly, eight ways you can prevent it. Scroll down for link to download a pdf version.

A Simple Guide to Fraud in Education Services


About CELA

Community Early Learning Australia is a not for profit organisation with a focus on amplifying the value of early learning for every child across Australia - representing our members and uniting our sector as a force for quality education and care.

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