Ballarat Health Services loses $2.7m in scam blunder

Interpol and Victoria Police are investigating how scammers have defrauded Ballarat Health Services of $2.7 million.

The multi-million dollar scam involved a fake invoice for works carried out at BHS.

It has been confirmed to The Courier by at least three independent sources the fraud involved a sham request for a new account to be paid to a supplier of BHS.

It is understood a similar fraud was also attempted on at least one other Ballarat business, Bunnings, but the scam was detected.

It is believed a call about an “invoice” was made to BHS’ financial department, but was dealt with by an administrative worker as management was “unavailable”.

The caller said they were from a major Ballarat builder, and they needed to established new account details. They also said BHS had an outstanding account of $2.7 million that needed to be paid.

The Courier understands the administrative staffer contacted the finance department and was told to inform the caller to submit an invoice with the new account details via email.

The invoice was subsequently sent to BHS and paid. It was later discovered the account was offshore and the funds were gone.

A Ballarat Health Services spokesman said as the matter was under police investigation, they could not comment. Bunnings also declined to comment on the allegations.

The Courier also understands the Health Minister Jill Hennessy is aware of the fraud. A spokesperson for the minister said the matter had been referred to police and it would not be appropriate to comment while investigations were proceeding.

Victoria police have been contacted for comment.