In 2013, Joseph Hikairo Barlow was sentenced to 14 years’ jail for defrauding Queensland Health. Barlow made 65 fraudulent grant payments to himself between 2007 and 2011, totalling more than $16.6 million and including a single fraudulent payment of $11 million. Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) found that, from the outset, Barlow was a high-risk employee: he had a criminal record, was wanted for questioning in New Zealand for fraud, and had fabricated his CV and his heritage as a Tahitian prince.
His conduct in the workplace manifested signs of chronic unreliability, characterised by an obvious lack of respect for the workplace, a propensity to take advantage of the service conditions, consistently poor attendance, erratic work hours that were not recorded on timesheets, excessive amounts of leave taken without proper records kept and poor-quality work not to the standard required of his seniority level, requiring other staff to complete or redo his tasks. Barlow would later admit that he actively intended to defraud Queensland Health.
The CMC found that Queensland Health missed the initial warning signs of Barlow as a high-risk employee and failed to properly investigate when it became aware of concerns relating to his behaviour. The CMC also found that a number of co-workers assisted Barlow in carrying out his fraudulent behaviour. Although some coworkers were unwitting accomplices, the CMC found that a number failed to comply with policy and procedure, and recommended that disciplinary action should be taken against them.
What did not happen?
X Verify identity.
X Check references.
X Undertake a criminal history check.
X Identify and manage underperformance
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