TAC probes suspected truck registration frauds

Prosecution of Keilor Transport part of a wider move to tackle shortfalls in funds available for traffic accident compensation

By Rob McKay | September 5, 2011

Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) is investigating incidences of suspected registration fraud in light of the recent Melbourne Magistrates Court prosecution and conviction involving Keilor Transport.

The TAC believes the case is anything but an isolated incident.

"We acknowledge that the majority of organisations within the industry do the right thing and pay the appropriate premiums," Acting CEO Tracey Slatter tells ATN.

"However, investigations into organisations within the trucking and transport industry have increased the TAC's focus on premium-related fraud.

"Any organisation that does not pay the correct premiums are not only defrauding the TAC but they are unfairly restricting the overall financial support available to Victorians impacted by road trauma.

"Where we have evidence to suggest there are organisations committing fraud, we will make a concerted effort to cross-check our data with VicRoads using sophisticated data matching analytics to ensure premiums are being paid correctly.

"The difference between the high-zone and low-zone premium undoubtedly contributes to an organisation's attempts to defraud the TAC, and anyone suspected of doing so will be liable to prosecution."

Palmstran Pty Ltd, which trades as Keilor Transport, had registered 74 vehicles - prime movers, forklifts, utility vehicles and personal vehicles - at a false non-metropolitan address in Ebden to obtain the benefit of a lower registration premium, the TAC says.

This had totalled $140,802 over a decade.

An audit of the company had found that the vehicles had been garaged at the company depot in higher-risk Laverton North, the TAC says.

Company directors were charged with nine counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception, had pleaded guilty to all counts and the company had been put on a two-year good-behaviour bond.

Magistrate Jennifer Goldsbrough also ordered the company to pay to the court fund $60,000, to be directed towards "support in the community for the reduction of road trauma in the State of Victoria".

The Magistrate indicated that general deterrence was very important in this case and said the company had engaged in highly aggravated offending over a period of nine years which denied victims of road trauma the funding they needed.

Company directors presented the TAC with a $145,802 cheque before court hearing began last Friday.

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