Local News

Another arrest over alleged bushfire fraud on Far South Coast


A third person has been charged following an investigation into bushfire-related fraud on the Far South Coast.

In March South Coast Police District detectives began investigating a group of people suspected of fraudulently obtaining bushfire assistance payments from a number of charities.

Following extensive inquiries, police executed search warrants at two homes in Surf Beach last Thursday ,  and arrested  47-year-old Michael Francis Brodribb, and 38-year-old Kelly Anne Percy.

They were charged and made first appearances before the court last week.  Police say Ms Percy dishonestly obtained $7,500, while Mr Brodribb fraudulently claimed over $2,500 dollars.

Mr Brodribb will return to court on June 22, while Ms Percy's case will return to court on July 13. Both were granted bail. 

A third arrest yesterday

Police say following further inquiries, a 45-year-old man was arrested at Batemans Bay Police Station about 10am yesterday. 

He was charged with three counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception, three counts of supply prohibited drug and common assault.

Police will allege in court the man attended a disaster recovery centre on three separate occasions in February 2020, claiming to have lost his home and belongings in the Clyde Mountain bushfire. He then received almost $25,000 in emergency grants after making false claims to charitable organisations.

The man was granted conditional bail and is due to face Batemans Bay Local Court on Monday, July 6.

Jail time for Batehaven fraudster

Meanwhile yesterday a 26-year-old Batehaven man who applied for $20,000 from the Red Cross, saying in an online application his home had been destroyed in the bushfires, has received a significant jail term.

Magistrate Doug Dick yesterday sentenced Matthew Stanley McGann to two-and-half years in jail with an 18 month non-parole period, dated back to March when McGann went into custody.
Despite McGann not following up on his fraudulent application, a plea of guilt, stated remorse and having not receiving any funds Magistrate Dick said the community expected strong action from the courts in these cases.

McGann had been on bail at the time of the offence. The sentence took into account three counts of supplying small quantities of ice.