Christchurch company among those charged with wage subsidy fraud

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
May 09, 2022 |

The Ministry of Social Development has filed charges in the Christchurch District Court relating to the abuse of the Government’s Wage Subsidy Scheme.

While MSD can’t comment specifically on individual companies, it did say it has filed criminal charges in seven cases of alleged abuse of the Wage Subsidy Scheme, involving $369,738.80 of public money.

Client Services Support General Manager George van Ooyen said charges relating to these cases have now been filed in the Auckland, Waitakere, Christchurch, and Hawera District Courts.

They involve a mix of receiving, dishonestly taking or using a document, and forgery charges. We will not be commenting on details of individual cases while they are before the courts.

One of these cases resulted in a guilty plea in the Auckland District Court in February when an individual admitted three charges of receiving wage subsidy funds they were not entitled to, totalling $18,745.60.

They have since repaid the $18,745.60. MSD will not be commenting further on this case until after sentencing, which is expected to happen later this year.

MSD is also preparing criminal charges for a further eight cases of wage subsidy abuse and is progressing civil recovery action in another 11 cases. 

This is on top of ten cases involving larger sums of money and complex investigations that were referred by MSD to the Serious Fraud Office in October 2021.

MSD has now completed 14,525 pre-payment and post-payment checks on wage subsidy applications, resolved 5535 allegations of wage subsidy misuse, completed 528 wage subsidy-related investigations, and recouped $794.6 million in Wage Subsidy repayments.

MSD has carried out an extensive range of work in order to identify and check possible wage subsidy fraud or incorrect payments.

Checks are underway, involving a mix of individuals and businesses, and we expect there will be more prosecutions to come.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

Have you got a news tip? Get in touch here

got a news tip?