A migrant husband and wife have been spared a prison sentence for their role in running a childcare benefit fraud syndicate.
Alee Farman and Lubna Hashimy apologized to the country they defrauded before they were allowed to leave Sydney’s Downing Center District Court on Wednesday afternoon.
Judge Jane Culver sentenced the pair to prison, but granted the pair a three-year parole order.
Farman was due to serve 33 months in prison and his wife was serving three years for running a fraud syndicate through the company Red Roses Family Day Care Pty Ltd.
The couple will instead have to show good behavior under community supervision for three years.
Husband and wife, Alee Farman (pictured), 53, and Lubna Hashimy, 44, have not been jailed for their role in running a child care fraud syndicate
Farman (left) was the sole owner of the company and instructed staff to photograph children at care sites to legitimize administration, while Hashimy (second from right) instructed staff on how to complete timesheets and submissions to the Department of Education
The daycare company was used to swindle the federal government’s 2018 to 2019 childcare subsidy scheme.
Hashimy has filed at least $89,000 in claims and Farman $79,000.
“Not a penny has been recovered,” Judge Culver told the court.
Farman, 53, was the sole owner of the business and had instructed staff to take children to shelters and photograph them to legitimize the company’s credentials.
Georges Hall’s husband instructed two educators on how to evade detection during periods of heightened government surveillance, going so far as to fire and then rehire a member of staff to avoid suspicion.
Hashimy, 44, instructed staff on how to complete timesheets and submissions to the Ministry of Education.
She also signed off on the fraudulent claims made to the department.
The daycare company was used to scam the federal government’s 2018 to 2019 childcare subsidy scheme
Farman is arrested in a court case at his South West Sydney mansion in June 2018, above
In one case, a Red Roses schoolteacher applied for grants for regular morning sessions to care for Hashimy’s children.
The children never went to the educator’s house for shelter and were instead picked up and then taken to school, the court heard.
Hashimy knew that educators were not entitled to a child-driving grant, but continued to repeatedly apply for care sessions through Red Roses.
Judge Culver acknowledged that full custody of the couple would get in the way of their mental and physical health.
Farman fled to Australia by boat in 1999 after deteriorating conditions for Iraqi expatriates in Iran following the Gulf War.
He apologized to Australia in a letter to the court.
“I have abandoned the principles of my country,” he wrote.
Ms Hashimy left Iraq because her mother had an Iranian background and moved to Sydney in 2006 on a partner visa.
My apologies to the Australian people. This is an embarrassing event in my life that will tarnish my heart,” Hashimy wrote in a letter to the court.
Farman (pictured), who fled to Australia by boat in 1999 after deteriorating conditions for Iraqi expatriates in post-Gulf War Iran, apologized in a letter to Australia
Hashimy (pictured), who fled to Australia on a partner visa in 2006, said in her letter: ‘I apologize to the Australian people. This is an embarrassing event in my life that will tarnish my heart.”
The judge also acknowledged that imprisonment would challenge the care of their children.
The couple’s 23-year-old daughter wrote a letter to the court detailing the impact media reports of the court proceedings had on her two younger siblings.
“We started to feel racially attacked,” the daughter wrote.
“As for my younger brother, boys from his school started recognizing his name… and harassing him.”
Judge Culver agreed that imprisonment was the only appropriate punishment, but it did not necessarily have to be carried out in full custody.
Community imprisonment would be more appropriate for the crimes, she said.