The Beehive building

Dead person’s name used in failed wage subsidy claim

10 May 2023.

A man received home detention for a wage subsidy fraud that involved using a deceased person’s name to apply.

Michael Joseph Mckenzie, 39, appeared in the Tauranga District Court on 10 May 2023 for sentencing on seven charges of dishonestly using a document. He appeared alongside his partner at the time, Alicea Mae McKenzie, 38, who had also pleaded guilty to one of those charges.

Between 14 and 15 April 2020, they helped each other make two dishonest wage subsidy applications that saw $29,488.80 paid into Mr Mckenzie’s bank account.

Mr Mckenzie went on to submit four more dishonest wage subsidy applications that netted a further $23,918.40, taking the total funds received to $53,407.20.

He then made 41 applications that were declined, including two in the name of someone who had passed away. Had those 41 applications been successful, he would have received $252,917.60.

Judge Melinda Mason said Mr Mckenzie took advantage of a situation where the country was really trying to band together.

“This was a scheme that was actually providing for us all really at a time when the country was facing difficulty, and everyone expected everyone to act in a trustworthy way.”

Mr Mckenzie was sentenced to 11 months’ home detention and ordered to pay $38,662.80 reparation. Ms McKenzie was sentenced to three months’ community detention and ordered to pay $14,744.40 reparation.