The first session on fraud with corona support took place on Wednesday 12th of May. Project developer M.D.K. was on trial for forgery because he had made a false claim to obtain the EZK compensation for fixed costs. In addition, the convicted person unrightfully received monthly support as an entrepreneur, because he had not reported that he had found another job in the meantime.
The judge found it reprehensible that the developer was abusing regulations set up to support the islands during the crisis. The entrepreneur, who has been living on Bonaire for a year and a half, was sentenced to six months suspended imprisonment and a community service sentence of 240 hours. As a result of this conviction, he will probably lose his right of residence in the Caribbean Netherlands. The accountant who participated in the EZK application was acquitted. The project developer turned out to have adjusted the information after his accountant had signed for truth.
The public prosecutor drew attention to the fact that the support measures are based on the government’s trust in its citizens. In order to be able to help the financially affected quickly, the support is provided on the basis of the information provided by the applicant. The applicant signs for truth and is obliged to communicate changes in the situation. The judge strongly blames the convicted person for damaging this trust.
The Emergency Regulation SZW and EZK Compensation were created at the start of the corona crisis to support entrepreneurs in their wage costs and fixed costs. About half of the companies in the Caribbean Netherlands have used one of the support regulations so far. The Public Prosecution Service BES is working together with the RCN unit SZW, which implements the regulations, to continue the fight against fraud.