Tue, 15 Jan, 2019
The Centrelink conman who scammed Australia for 30 years
A conman who had been scamming the Australian government for more than three decades is finally set to be deported, reports said.
The serial fraudster, who went by the name Michael Boghdadi Asaad, had scammed Centrelink for social security payments totalling to almost $90,000 using a false identity.
According to Daily Mail Australia, Asaad is now being held at Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney and set to be deported.
Asaad entered Australia in 1985 on a Canadian passport under the name of Rick Michaels. He was given an Australian birth certificate in 1992 after claiming he was born in Tasmania, and received a total of $89,161.44 in Centrelink benefits between 2002 and 2009.
The conman had also been imprisoned for fraud-related offences in 1994, 2004, 2009 and 2010. This included a case where Asaad borrowed more than $35,000 from businesses without disclosing his bankruptcy, while also falsely telling creditors that he had graduated from Harvard with an MBA and worked for several big US banks.
In 2017, FBI fingerprint files revealed Asaad’s true identity as Farouk Asaad, a convict with an 18-year criminal record who was deported from the US. Reports said Asaad went in and out of jail between 1971 and 1987 on charges ranging from bank fraud to embezzlement.
Asaad’s son, Michael Boghdadi Asaad Jnr, also made headlines in 2009 when he assaulted Today Tonight reporter Damien Hansen. According to court documents, Hansen was filming a story on Asaad’s family in Paradise Waters, Queensland when Asaad Jnr punched him twice in the face and destroyed his camera and equipment.
The Department of Home Affairs refused to comment on Asaad’s case.
“Foreign nationals who do not hold a valid visa will be liable for detention and removal from Australia,” said a spokesman for the department.