19 Aug 2022

Auckland man charged with filing fake wage subsidy applications worth $1.88m

1:10 pm on 19 August 2022

An Auckland man has been charged for allegedly submitting 42 false Covid-19 wage subsidy applications worth $1.88 million.

Auckland court coat of arms.

(file image) Photo: RNZ / Patrice Allen

In Auckland District Court today, Hun Min Im, 33, pleaded not guilty to 42 charges, including 13 charges of obtaining by deception and 29 charges of dishonest use of a document.

He is alleged to have received $600,000 of the $1.88 million which the Serious Fraud Office says he attempted to claim by using applications containing false information.

He is due to appear in court again on 23 November.

In a statement, the SFO said this was the first time a wage subsidy fraud case was brought forward by them, and there were 10 other ongoing investigations into alleged subsidy abuse.

"The theft of public money is a serious crime which diverts government funds away from where they're most needed. This is particularly acute in times of crisis, such as during a global pandemic," said SFO director Karen Chang.

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has referred multiple allegations of abuse of the scheme to the SFO last year after its own investigations.