Farm bureau bank has agreed to repair more than $20 million worth of damage caused by the fraudsters that targeted its banknotes.
The bank said on Friday it was paying $20.5 million to resolve claims it had overcharged customers by more than 3,500 per cent in relation to the scandal.
The payments were made by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to settle claims from customers who said they had been defrauded by two individuals and that they had lost more than half of their banknotes in the scheme.
The allegations were brought by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) after a number of complaints were received by the bank.ATO Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the scheme was “unlawful” and the actions of the criminals had damaged the reputation of the bank and its customers.
“The scheme operated for a long time,” Mr Colvin told reporters at the ATO’s headquarters in Canberra.
“We’ve been through some very serious financial pressures.”
“We are not in the position where we can afford to lose a couple of million dollars a year just to protect our reputation.”
He said he hoped the payment would “give people hope that they can go back and get their money back”.
“Hopefully that will be enough to lift the spirits of the people in these affected communities and make them feel more secure and secure in the future,” he said.
“It’s a relief for the community and it’s a win-win for us as taxpayers.”
The ATO was investigating the scheme from August 2013 to November 2016.
It is the first criminal investigation into the farm bureau scheme.