The Beehive building

Community detention for false COVID relief claims

30 May 2023.

A man who submitted 39 fraudulent applications for more than $118,000 in COVID-19 financial support has been sentenced to five months’ community detention.

Michael Thomas Kelsall, also known as Thomas J. Porteous, appeared in the Papakura District Court on 30 May 2023 having admitted four charges of dishonestly taking or using a document.

Between 11 April 2020 and 16 November 2021, Kelsall submitted 39 dishonest applications to MSD for COVID-19 wage subsidies, Leave Support Scheme payments, and Short-Term Absence Payments.

Three applications were successful, worth a total of $15,429.60. Kelsall made large cash withdrawals within hours of the money being paid each time.

The total amount he sought in the declined applications, was $103,165.60.

Four of the unsuccessful applications were made using the name and Inland Revenue number of a company that Kelsall had registered on 29 July 2020 and appointed himself and his ex-partner as directors and shareholders, without his ex-partner’s knowledge. Subsequent checks by MSD found the company was not trading at the time.

Kelsall also made other unsuccessful applications using the name and Inland Revenue numbers of his family members, associates, and ex-partner, as well as his parent’s company.

Judge Alan Goodwin sentenced Kelsall to five months’ community detention and ordered him to pay $10,000 reparation.