Border Force agent sentenced over fraudulent tourist refund claims

By Jackson Graham

December 15, 2021

Australian Border Force
Operation Ajax found two officers of the former Department of Immigration and Border Protection were using fraudulent medical certificates. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

A court has sentenced a former Australian Border Force officer who processed fraudulent claims worth $72,000 to two years’ imprisonment, to be served as an intensive corrections order. 

The former officer, Suzan Gogebakan, plead guilty in the Parramatta District Court to obtaining a financial advantage by deception. Her sentence was handed down on Tuesday. 

It follows an investigation into ABF officers defrauding the commonwealth government through the Tourist Refund Scheme – an initiative for departing overseas travellers to claim a tax refund for goods bought in Australia. 

The investigation, by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity and Home Affairs, found four former ABF officers knowingly made and approved fraudulent claims to benefit themselves while processing the tax refunds.

Gogebakan was sentenced for processing 18 fraudulent claims, totalling $72,126.73, at Sydney International Airport between December 2017 and July 2018. 

She is the last of the four ABF officers to be sentenced following the completion of the agencies’ investigation. 

Integrity commissioner Jaala Hinchcliffe said ACLEI welcomed the court’s decision.

“Corruption like this can cause significant loss to the commonwealth,” Hinchcliffe said. 

“This investigation highlights the mechanisms in place to detect, investigate and prosecute corrupt conduct and fraud within Australian government law enforcement agencies.”


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