by  Weatherzone.com.au Monday November 28, 2011 – 12:45 EDT

A Queensland public servant has appeared in a Brisbane court on more than a dozen fraud charges involving the Premier’s Disaster Relief Fund.

It is alleged earlier this year Thomas Wilson Nott, 44, from Chelmer on Brisbane’s westside, fraudulently obtained $15,000 and tried to obtain $75,000 more.

He was granted conditional bail and will face court again next month.

He has been charged with 15 counts of fraud and forgery.

The fund was set up by Premier Anna Bligh earlier this year to assist people severely affected by January’s floods and Cyclone Yasi.

Yesterday, Ms Bligh issued a statement saying the man, employed by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), is on leave.

“Thousands of people, as well as organisations and businesses, generously donated this money in the belief it would go directly to assist those who had lost everything,” she said.

“That’s why we put rigorous checks and balances in place to ensure these generous donations went to those who needed it most.”

Police say they conducted a three-month investigation before charging the man.

The investigation was conducted by police, DEEDI, the Department of Local Government and Planning and the Department of Public Works.

The Premier’s disaster relief fund raised more than $272 million before it closed in early September.

– ABC

© ABC 2011

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