ASQA obtains criminal prosecution for fraud

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has secured a criminal prosecution against a training manager of a registered training organisation (RTO) who used fraudulent documents in an attempt to demonstrate compliance with the national standards.

On Friday 12 September 2014 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court, Magistrate Judith Daley convicted Joseph Johnson of Community Training College Pty Ltd on five counts of knowingly producing false documents in purported compliance with a law of the Commonwealth, contrary to section 137.2(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

Magistrate Daley fined Mr Johnson $2000, with a conviction being recorded.

ASQA Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson said the fraudulent documents had been identified during an audit of the RTO.

“Community Training College was audited in April 2013 and significant non-compliances were identified,” Mr Robinson said.

“As is normal practice, the RTO was given the opportunity to present additional evidence in order to demonstrate compliance.

“The organisation nominated a number of new trainers and assessors, and provided copies of qualifications to demonstrate compliance with one of the standards they had not met.

“When reviewing these qualifications, the auditor noticed anomalies in the certificate numbering, dates and printing of the names on the certificates.

“The auditor contacted the issuer of the qualifications, who confirmed that the certificates were not legitimate certificates issued by them. The matter was then referred to ASQA’s investigation team.”

Mr Robinson said an investigation substantiated the allegation and found that not only were the certificates fraudulent, but that Mr Johnson had used the identities of the three people that he had presented as his trainers without their knowledge or consent.

“As the national regulator for the vocational educational and training (VET) sector, ASQA is committed to ensuring that students are learning the skills they need from qualified and experience trainers and assessors,” he said.

“In the past 12 months, ASQA has significantly developed its investigations functions and this prosecution demonstrates that ASQA will use the powers at its disposal to ensure RTOs are fully compliant with the National Standards.

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