In this case study, we examine an exceptional result our team recently achieved in relation to the publicly covered “Sydney daycare cases”. In a context where 74 co-accused received significant penalties, our client’s was the only case to be dealt with through a good behaviour bond without conviction. Here is what we did.
Over the last few years, police have uncovered what have been described as syndicates in south-west Sydney in the family day-care industry. Several of these businesses allegedly made fraudulent claims against the federal government’s childcare subsidy schemes for children who “never existed” and for others, whose parents allegedly sold their identities to service the scheme.
In the course of investigations, several family home day-care business were targeted. Under the federal government’s childcare subsidy scheme a subsidy is “paid directly to providers to be passed on to families as a fee reduction”.
Families then make a co-contribution to their childcare fees, paying the provider the difference between the fee charged and the subsidy amount.
As part of the investigations, NSW Police also pursued 100s of parents who allegedly sold their children’s identities to help the company qualify for the subsidies.
Our client was charged with submitting false records to a day care relating to their engagement as an educator, with the intention of dishonestly causing a loss to another person, namely the Commonwealth, pursuant to section 135.1(3) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
In the context of the above (broader) issue, these charges were highly publicised. Public scrutiny and the pressure on prosecutors was severe, with convictions common and penalties issued significant.
Our office negotiated with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to significantly reduce, by tens of thousands of dollars, the value of Childcare Subsidies determined in respect of all sessions of care said to have been provided by our client.
The agreed Statement of Facts was also considerably amended so as to reflect the limited scope of our client’s offending.
At sentencing, our client received a 2-year good behaviour bond, without proceeding to conviction.
This was a remarkable result considering there were 74 co-accuseds, and none were able to obtain the same outcome.
The outcome was a result of the diligence our team applied in ascertaining all the facts of the individual circumstances and being careful to distinguish to the courts the circumstances of our client relative to others involved in the series of cases. The court acknowledged this distinction and our client avoided penalties which would have been severely injurious to their business and personal interests.