Agencies raided as NT rort investigation continues

Agencies raided as NT rort investigation continues

Northern Territory Police have raided two businesses and a home in Alice Springs as part of an ongoing investigation into travel fraud that saw a Darwin travel agent jailed in December.

Police are looking into five travel agencies which are allegedly involved in ripping off a government-subsidised pensioner and carer travel scheme.

On Saturday they raided two travel agencies in Alice Springs, collecting evidence but making no arrests, as well as searching a home linked to one of the businesses.

This follows a similar raid on a Katherine travel agency two weeks ago.

Two other agencies in Darwin are also being investigated.

All five have been referred to police by the Department of Health over anomalies detected in travel booked by the agencies.

Last December Darwin travel agent and former Crimestoppers NT chair Xana Kamitsis was jailed for defrauding the scheme of more than $120,000.

She also pleaded guilty to corruption charges relating to travel and benefits given to Paul Mossman, former chief of staff to Housing Minister Bess Price, who will be arraigned to stand trial in March.

Kamitsis was found guilty of 20 counts of obtaining benefits by deception between 2009 and 2013. The Darwin-based travel agent was found  to have fraudulently invoiced the scheme, run by the Northern Territory Health Department, for inflated flight costs when she had actually been buying cheaper flights for pensioners and then pocketing the difference.

Kamitsis’ Latitude Travel is in no way associated with Latitude Group Travel based in Victoria.

Since August last year, an inter-agency taskforce dedicated to the investigation has referred six potential cases, including Latitude Travel, to a specialist team of ­detectives.

Image credit: iStock

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

    Latest comments
    1. hardly. The cheapest airfares are never online & many people want to talk to someone who’s been there, not some very dodgy online reviews.
      We get emails from someone in India, saying we can get 1,000 great online reviews for $100(think that’s USD$) + 1,000 negative reviews for our opposition.
      You can never stop this sort of thing going on. NEVER

    2. please clarify what crime has been committed. This story does not highlight any crime being committed.

      The real criminals are those running dodgy phone companies who have phones made in China for $6 or less, then sell them to suckers for $1000 & then send all the profits to tax havens. The Indians last week announced a smart phone for sale for equivalent of AUD$5.26, which is as good as anything out in the marketplace.

agents darwin fraud nt police Xana Kamitsis

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