Three Sydney real estate agents have been arrested over a $2 million drug and Covid relief scam.
The three Sydney-based real estate agents are among six people involved in a fraud scheme that used the names of other people to rent homes where they allegedly grew $2 million in cannabis.
The six are also alleged to have used these names to claim Covid relief payments.
A total of six people were charged on Wednesday over the alleged scheme, with police last year taking down and seizing equipment used to create hydroponic cannabis growing systems in a number of south-west Sydney homes.
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Police also seized close to $2 million worth of cannabis.
According to police, the group attempted to fraudulently claim a large amount of money under the Covid Residential Tenancy Support Package scheme on a number of occasions.
Fairfield City Police area command crime manager Luke Scott said in a statement the three real estate agents involved in the scheme took advantage if their positions for financial gain.
“We will be alleging these people used their position as trusted insiders in the real estate industry to defraud their own clientele and public money meant for those who need it most,” he said.
“The properties that were allegedly utilised by this syndicate to grow cannabis were subleased to members of the public who had no idea their name was on the lease agreement, as was the case when it came to the fraudulently obtained rental relief and bond payments.”
Mr Scott said the crime is especially “predatory” and all involved will be brought to justice in the courts.
“The nature of this fraud is particularly scandalous and predatory; the community won’t tolerate it, and those involved now have our court system to answer to.”
The arrests include a 52-year-old real estate agent, a 44-year-old man, two 35-year-old men, a 37-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man.
The 52-year-old is facing 10 charges including participating in a criminal group and contributing to criminal activity, knowingly directing activities of a criminal group, two counts of cultivating a criminal plant, two counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, making and using a false document to obtain financial advantage and two counts of knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
The 44-year-old man has been charged with cultivating a prohibited plant and participating in criminal group activity.
Both men are set to appear in Fairfield Local Court at some point today.
One of the 35-year-old men is facing nine charges while the second 35-year-old man is facing three charges.
The 37-year-old female real estate agent is facing eight charges and is set to appear in Fairfield Local Court today.
The 23-year-old man is facing four counts of cultivating a prohibited plant and one count of participating in a criminal group. He is set to appear in Fairfield Local Court on May 25.
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