The Beehive building

First person sentenced for wage subsidy misuse

07 October 2022.

An Auckland man has been convicted for wrongly receiving almost $19,000 in wage subsidy payments.

Saleem Abdul appeared in the Auckland District Court for sentencing on 7 October 2022, having admitted three charges of receiving payments that he was not entitled to through the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. He was convicted and discharged.

Between 16 April and 7 July 2020, three applications that listed Abdul’s bank account, but not made in his name, were approved. A total of $18,745.60 was paid into this account.

Between 4 May 2020 and 22 January 2021, Abdul used the funds to buy furniture and whiteware, send remittances to his family in India, and pay off personal loans.

Ministry of Social Development (MSD) investigators subsequently contacted the people and businesses whose names were used on the applications. All confirmed they had no knowledge of them.

Abdul denied making the applications but accepted that he knew the payments were from MSD and he was not entitled to them. He has since repaid the money.