A Queensland man who misled three individuals into providing payment for false qualifications has been ordered to pay a pecuniary penalty of $31,400.
On 5 July 2018, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) successfully obtained a declaration from the Federal Court that Scott Andrew Jones created false qualifications concerning "Engineering—Fabrication Trade", in the names of three different people, and provided those documents for a fee.
The court found that Mr Jones falsely represented to these individuals that each qualification was a legitimate vocational education and training (VET) qualification issued by a registered training organisation (RTO).
ASQA Chief Commissioner Mark Paterson said ASQA began investigating Mr Jones following a complaint.
“The investigation identified that Mr Jones had offered to assist work colleagues by enrolling them with TAFE Queensland to seek recognition of prior learning for engineering qualifications. Mr Jones took money from these individuals and then copied a legitimate qualification in order to issue documentation, which he purported to be from TAFE Queensland, to his colleagues.
As a result of its investigation, ASQA commenced a civil prosecution against Mr Jones.
“As the national regulator for VET, ASQA understands the importance of safeguarding the reputation of Australia’s nationally recognised qualifications.
“ASQA uses the full range of powers available to pursue those who fabricate qualifications, in order to protect learners and ensure the qualifications they are issued are authentic,” Mr Paterson said.
“False VET qualifications pose a genuine risk to the community, by misrepresenting the holders’ knowledge and skills to potential employers.
“This type of fraudulent documentation has the potential to result in harm to the individuals holding the documentation, as well as to members of the public,” Mr Paterson said.
The Federal Court also ordered Mr Jones to pay ASQA’s costs in the agreed sum $55,000.