Former federal Labor MP Craig Thomson has confessed to unlawfully using tens of thousands of dollars obtained from COVID-19 small business grants for personal expenses. Thomson pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception. The facts revealed that he fraudulently applied for and received $25,000 in NSW government grant money through self-declarations and trust in online forms.
Thomson utilized the funds for personal purposes, including mortgage repayments, credit card payments, private school fees, vehicle lease, rental accommodation, and personal shopping. Interestingly, he applied for the grants under the name of his then-wife, who had no involvement in the misuse of funds. This tactic aimed to avoid raising any suspicions. However, when authorities contacted his ex-wife for clarification, she denied submitting the forms, triggering further investigation.
The grants were intended to assist small businesses affected by the pandemic. In Thomson’s case, he falsely claimed support for a cafe business that he had already sold in 2018. The cafe ceased trading in May 2020 due to development, and health inspectors later confirmed its permanent closure in October 2020.
Thomson’s actions reflect a clear abuse of the system designed to support struggling businesses during challenging times. The NSW government plans to enforce a court order to reclaim the $25,000 granted to Thomson. A third offense of making a false document for financial gain will also be considered during Thomson’s sentencing.
Formerly the national secretary of the Health Services Union, Thomson’s political career ended after being suspended from the Labor Party in 2012. In 2013, he ran as an independent candidate but was unsuccessful. Thomson is expected to be sentenced on February 7, 2022.
Q: What were the personal expenses that Craig Thomson used the fraudulently obtained funds for?
A: Craig Thomson misused the funds for various personal expenses, including credit card payments, mortgage repayments, private school fees, vehicle lease, rental accommodation, and personal shopping.
Q: Why did Craig Thomson apply for the grants under his ex-wife’s name?
A: By applying under his ex-wife’s name, Thomson aimed to avoid raising suspicions and deflect any potential investigation.
Q: How were authorities alerted to the misuse of funds?
A: Thomson’s ex-wife denied submitting the forms when authorities contacted her seeking clarification about the mismatched information. This triggered further investigation into the fraudulent activities.
Q: What will happen to the funds obtained by Thomson?
A: The NSW government plans to enforce a court order to retrieve the $25,000 that was fraudulently granted to Thomson.
Q: When will Craig Thomson be sentenced?
A: Craig Thomson’s sentencing is scheduled for February 7, 2022.