Update | Man charged over $2.7m fraud against Surf Life Saving NSW


A 50-year-old East Corrimal man has been charged with 55 offences on Wednesday following an investigation into a multi-million-dollar fraud against Surf Life Saving NSW.

Detectives arrested Matthew Hanks at 9am at Wollongong Police Station.

Police will allege in court that Hanks used his position as general manager of Surf Life Saving NSW to defraud the organisation through various means to a total value of more than $2.7 million between 2006 and 2016.

In March 2017, detectives from the State Crime Command's Financial Crimes Squad and Northern Beaches Police Area Command established Strike Force Splint to investigate the reported misappropriation of funds by a former senior employee of the charity organisation.

Detectives executed three search warrants in Sydney's CBD and Parramatta and seized documentation.

They also received large amounts of documents which underwent analysis by specialist forensic accountants.

Hanks has been charged with seven counts of obtain money by deception (greater than $15,000) and 48 counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception.

He has been granted strict conditional bail to appear at Wollongong Local Court on October 1.


A former senior manager at Surf Life Saving NSW exploited his position of trust to steal $2.7 million from the charity over 10 years using a "complex" scam, NSW Police allege.

The 50-year-old was arrested in Wollongong on Wednesday and is in the process of being charged with more than 50 fraud offences.

Detectives say the fraudulent activity spanned the decade from 2006 to 2016.

"It was complex and sustained," Detective Acting Superintendent Richard Puffett told reporters in Sydney.

"These people hold a position of trust and sometimes they exploit that. They are confident, brazen and good at what they do."

SLNSW reported the matter to police in early 2017 after noticing anomalies in its accounts.

Man arrested over alleged $2.7 million fraud against Surf Life Saving NSW

The senior manager - who faces a significant jail term if found guilty - had resigned in mid-2016.

Det Act Supt Puffett said the scam against the "iconic organisation" involved the use of fraudulent invoices for vehicle sales and the setting up of a fake printing company.

He said the 50-year-old had spent the funds on his lifestyle and assets.

Surf Life Saving NSW released a statement on Wednesday.

"Surf Life Saving NSW is awaiting the outcome of criminal proceedings involving a former senior member of staff who is alleged to have fraudulently obtained a large sum of money from the organisation before resigning in July 2016," it said.

"SLSNSW welcomes the charges laid today against the former senior manager, after cooperating with the NSW Police for the last three years with their investigations.

"Over the course of the investigation SLSNSW has kept members and stakeholders fully informed and we thank our members, partners and the community for their ongoing support during this difficult period.

"As this matter is now before the court, SLSNSW is unable to provide additional comment at this time."