A Melbourne woman has admitted to defrauding the Commonwealth over a multi-million-dollar day care scam, but her four co-accused have denied related charges in court.
Adut Deng Ajak Deng, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of dishonestly causing a loss to the Department of Education and Training.
Deng was charged as part of an investigation into $15.8 million in false payments to day care providers in Melbourne’s west dating back to March 2014.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) alleged members of the scheme repeatedly submitted fake child attendance records to claim benefits.
The group was accused of targeting the grandparent childcare benefit, which covers the full cost of fees for up to 50 hours a week.
Deng’s co-accused include Rosa Aluel Riak, her two children Kuol Monydhang Deng and Achai Monydhang Deng, along with Magdalina Acieny.
All four have pleaded not guilty to related fraud offences.
Accused ‘learnt the system’ working in day care
Court documents claim the scheme was collecting more than $800,000 a fortnight from bogus claims at the height of it operation
It was allegedly trading as Rosa Family Day Care and Hello Children Family Day Care, and at one stage employed 57 people.
The court heard Rosa Aluel Riak and her two children live at Point Cook and have been involved in the family day care sector since 2009.
They worked in administrative roles at established day care services where they allegedly learnt how the system operated.
Adut Deng Ajak Deng will return to court in February for a plea hearing, while her co-accused are due to reappear on Thursday for a directions hearing.