An ex-federal Labor MP believed to be at the centre of a multi-million dollar migration fraud scheme has spent his first night behind bars after being refused bail yesterday afternoon.
Craig Thompson allegedly helped fudge more than 130 visa applications over 4 years raking in upwards of $2 million dollars in profit.
His arrest follows a joint operation between the Federal Police, Border Force, Australian Tax Office and Home Affairs department and raids on a home in East Maitland as well as eight other locations earlier this year.
The 57 year old is up on 2 migration fraud charges — each carry a maximum 10 year prison stint if he’s convicted.
He was also charged with 19 counts of providing false documents and false or misleading information relating to non-citizens and dealing with the proceeds of crime.
AFP a/Commander Investigations, Eastern Command, Craig Bellis said the charges laid in this matter involved a serious breach of public trust.
“The alleged offences in this matter involved the exploitation of Federal Government programs designed to assist Australian businesses, and it is incumbent on the AFP to investigate and prosecute instances of large-scale fraud against Australian taxpayers,” he said.
“Anyone with any information about this or other migration fraud offences is encouraged to contact the AFP on 131 237, or 131 AFP.”
ABF Assistant Commissioner East and Port Operations, Erin Dale, said the ABF takes a zero-tolerance approach to anyone trying to profit through the exploitation of vulnerable foreign workers.
“This investigation demonstrates the unwavering resolve of the ABF and AFP in preventing the exploitation of foreign workers in Australia. ‘Cash for visa’ schemes as they are often known, target vulnerable visa holders who may not be aware of Australian laws and workplace entitlements”, she said.
“Together, the ABF and AFP will continue to pursue facilitators of visa and migration fraud, while protecting foreign workers who play a vital role within the Australian community”.