Fake printing co used to rip off $2.7m from NSW surf lifesavers

A printing company that does not exist was allegedly used as a front for a former senior Surf Life Saving NSW general manager to embezzle $2.7m from the charity.

After a lengthy investigation Matthew Hanks, 50, was arrested at Wollongong police station yesterday and charged with 55 offences relating to the multi-million dollar fraud which ran from 2006 to 2016 with Hank alleged to have created fake invoices from a printing company he himself registered to extract the money out of the organisation.

Hanks’ charges include seven counts of obtaining money by deception (greater than $15,000) and 48 counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.

Surf Life Saving NSW, which largely relies on public donations and volunteers to provide water safety and other assistance on NSW beaches, has released a statement saying Hanks resigned from the organisation in 2016.

“We have been cooperating with the NSW Police for the last three years with their investigations and we now await the outcome of criminal proceedings,” NSW Surf Life Saving said in a statement.

“We know our members share our anger, disappointment and frustration in this matter and we have endeavoured to keep clubs and other stakeholders informed of progress.

“Extensive internal and external investigations and review processes have been implemented since 2016 which mean the necessary governance and financial processes are in place to ensure such a situation cannot arise in future.”

Hanks was granted strict conditional bail at Wollongong Local Court and will reappear on October 1.


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