The Beehive building

“Fraud on all taxpayers” leads to home detention

15 February 2023.

An Auckland man who fraudulently obtained wage subsidy funds that he spent on fast food and gambling has been sentenced to 10 months’ home detention.

William James Cosgrove appeared for sentencing in the Auckland District Court on 15 February 2023 having admitted seven charges of dishonestly using a document in connection with the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.

Between 17 April 2020 and 16 March 2021, Cosgrove submitted 21 dishonest wage subsidy applications to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). Six of these applications were successful, totaling $28,029.60.

Cosgrove used the details of existing companies without their authority. None of the wage subsidies he received were ever paid to the employees listed on the applications.

He spent some of the funds at fast food outlets, service stations, on gambling websites, and a “considerable amount” at SkyCity.

Judge Kirsten Lummis said Cosgrove’s abuse of the wage subsidy had not only eroded trust in the scheme, but it was also “a fraud on all taxpayers”.

“The wage subsidy scheme was a lifeline for businesses and, as has been observed in other cases, this type of offending strikes at the heart of the community in crisis and warrants a stern response.”

Cosgrove was sentenced to 10 months’ home detention and ordered to pay $2000 in reparation.