A former Bendigo man has pleaded guilty to defrauding the National Disability Insurance Agency, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars of payments for services his business never provided.
The County Court heard Mitchell John Landry, the owner of Mitchell's Mowing and Property Services, received more than $342,940 for false service bookings he made to the NDIA in 2018.
Landry also pleaded guilty to attempting to defraud the NDIA of a further $156,338. His claims for funding from the NDIA for the additional false service bookings were unsuccessful.
The false service bookings Landry received funding for involved him accessing the accounts of 24 NDIS participants.
"In reality, none of the participants had requested the services purportedly provided, nor did the offender provide any such services," prosecutor Andrew Sim told the court.
Landry received payments for bookings made on 11 days in 2018, between June 2 and September 7.
The unsuccessful claims related to additional false service bookings, made on eight days between June 1 and August 12 of 2018.
Mitchell's Mowing and Property Services initially provided legitimate services, for which Landry received payments from the NDIA.
Landry went on to make claims his own lawyer, Charles Morgan, described as "absurd", including more than 1000 hours of work for a client in New South Wales over an eight-month period and more than 1200 hours of work for another client in an overlapping period.
Landry used the money he received from the NDIA to buy a Mercedes Benz Sprint Van and several properties in the Bendigo area.
The funds were deposited into a bank account in Landry's name, and he was registered as the director and sole trader of Mitchell's Mowing and Property Services.
"I said at the outset it would be my submission the offending was opportunistic and unsophisticated," Mr Morgan said.
He said his client was always going to be exposed, "as he was not long after this offending began."
"This is immature in the extreme," Mr Morgan said.
His client was 20 years old at the time of the offending - one of the factors Mr Morgan presented in his defence.
The court heard Landry had pleaded guilty at an early stage and was about $15,000 short of repaying the NDIA in full.
The matter was adjourned to allow the defence to provide further evidence to assist Chief Judge Peter Kidd in sentencing Landry.
Landry's bail was extended to his next court date, which is in April.
How you can access our trusted content:
- Bookmark bendigoadvertiser.com.au
- Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
- Follow us on Twitter @BgoAddy
- Follow us on Instagram @bendigoadvertiser
- Follow us on Google News