More than 3000 alleged welfare cheats receiving a total of $33.7 million a year have been caught in the past six months.
The Government says the findings are the result of a new way of sharing information between Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Social Development which started this while it is also looking at tying the amount of money they have to pay back to their wages in a bid to recoup costs faster.
Associate social development minister Chester Borrows said a total of 3139 people were caught in the investigation, with 1948 on an unemployment benefit and 559 on a sickness benefit.
He said the ministry believed it would be able to prove a ”big chunk of them” were intentionally defrauding the taxpayer though some could have been a legitimate oversight, he said.
”The fact is that these 3139 have been found to be paying more tax than they should have been if they were only earning their $100 a week maximum that they were allowed to on a benefit so there is obviously a reason for suspicion there,” he said.