National

Desperate victims of NDIS fraud speak out

By AAP Newswire

A woman was forced to ration her children's nappies after falling victim to a Melbourne man who defrauded the National Disability Insurance Scheme of more than $350,000.

Mohamed Osman Omar, 36, faced a County Court pre-sentence hearing on Thursday after pleading guilty to four charges relating to the scam.

Between June 18 and August 18 last year, the court was told Omar made 332 requests for payment from the NDIS, through a company he registered on its website.

He swindled a total of $370,336 and attempted to obtain a further $85,099 before the NDIS placed a lock on his account.

Among his victims were three children and a severely autistic man in NSW, whom he found by randomly searching for NDIS account numbers

In a statement, the mother of autistic twin daughters spoke of her anxiety having discovered their funding was missing.

"I was instantly angry, then I was a little desperate," her statement read.

She was forced to wake her daughters during the night to make them go to the toilet so she wouldn't waste nappies.

"I was trying to conserve the nappies that I had," she said.

Another mum of four flew to Melbourne to read her statement in court.

Her son, who has autism, epilepsy and ADHD among other conditions, became withdrawn, angry and isolated when they could no longer afford his carers or activities.

"His set routine - all of which had taken time to create and maintain, in one moment all this disappeared," she said.

It left her "freaked out, alarmed, worried, furious, frustrated and exhausted," she said.

"I felt like I had betrayed (him)."

"I do not understand how people can take money from people who need it most," another victim said.

The court was told Omar didn't conceal the fraud, listing himself as the director of Langmann Care Pty Ltd and using his personal bank account.

"Are we going to wait until everybody robs the government and then we get shut down before making a dollar?" he said in a text to an associate on July 4, 2018.

Omar purchased a BMW for $107,656 and a Toyota HiLux worth $36,313, as well as spending $14,000 in less than two weeks at Louis Vuitton.

"He has a predilection towards a luxury lifestyle," Judge Julie Condon observed.

Somalia-born Omar went on two holidays to Eygpt and splashed cash on his relatives and family friends.

"In accordance with cultural expectations, if you like, he used some of the proceeds to buy things for people of Somalian background and family associates," his lawyer Sarah Thomas said.

She said $177,500 had been recovered through the sale of cars and watches and noted her client was "prepared to pay back every cent".

While conceding her client would serve jail time, Ms Thomas noted Omar had no previous convictions and excellent prospects of rehabilitation. His wife is also expecting a baby in February.

It was the first time anyone had been prosecuted for defrauding the NDIS, prosecuting barrister Samantha Holmes said.

"Those individuals that have been affected are some of the most vulnerable members of our community," she added.

Omar was taken into custody and is expected to be sentenced on July 11.