A Sydney man is facing fraud charges after he was allegedly caught selling fraudulent health and safety accreditation cards to unqualified construction workers.
New South Wales Police and Australian Federal Police (AFP) alleged the man charged a fee to fraudulently obtain the certification, known as white cards, for other people.
The cards are required for workers who want to carry out construction work, according to SafeWork NSW.
It is alleged the 37-year-old obtained the certifications from a registered training organisation in Queensland by completing online examinations on behalf of his clients and charged them about $150.
Police said he promoted his business by word of mouth.
Fraud squad commander, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogianis, said the man sold at least 400 cards.
“It’s a huge risk because they’re unqualified, they’re untrained. As we know, the construction industry is a very high-risk area,” he said.
“So they’re performing tasks out there which they’re not trained to do and again that places the safety of their colleagues and members of the community at significant risk.
“The compromise of personal information and the production of false or forged documents is a serious issue and can have dangerous consequences for the community.”
White cards are issued by Registered Training Organisations according to the relevant work health and safety regulation operating in each Australian state and territory.
The accreditation process for obtaining a white card differs from state to state but the accreditation is recognised across the country.
Detective Superintendent Katsogianis said it was a loophole that was often exploited by criminal groups.
“If there’s a loophole there criminals will exploit it and use it to their advantage,” he said.
“That’s exactly what these individuals have done in this particular occasion.”
After a joint investigation by NSW police and the AFP, the man was arrested at Kellyville, in Sydney’s west, on September 20.
He was charged with four counts of fraud and granted bail to appear in Parramatta Local Court on November 2.
The Identity Security Strike Team (ISST) investigates high-level, complex identity fraud and related security matters under both Commonwealth and State legislation.
Computers, mobile phones, white cards, cash and documents relating to training, courses and qualifications for the construction industry were found after searches at a Kellyville house and an office at Eastwood.