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Welfare fraud exceeds $4m in five years

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 04:13 PM

It is refreshing to see that the staff member concerned who was working at Work and Income and ripped off them off case is highlighted.

Would we please be able to see the same in regards to staff and it's contracted agents that have done the same?

We would also like to see Judges use there positions of Authority to ensure that white collar fraudsters have sentences that are equally appropriate for the Crimes they commit.

It has been observed too many white collar workers have got away with very light sentences for their offences which are at times of greater financial value than those on WorkandIncome or Accident Compensation assistance.

Welfare fraud exceeds $4m in five years
Last updated 12:00 08/09/2012

More than 200 beneficiaries have been prosecuted in the region's courts over the past five years for scamming more than $4 million off the taxpayer.

Figures released to the Manawatu Standard under the Official Information Act also show the Social Development Ministry prosecuted 43 benefit fraudsters in 2011/12 for making false claims from Work and Income.

The 43 fraudsters, who wrongly claimed $731,538, were convicted in the Palmerston North, Feilding, Levin, Marton and Dannevirke District Courts.

Those numbers were down on the 2010/11 year, when 46 fraudsters claimed $955,068, and the 2009/10 year, when 49 people were prosecuted for $1,191,535.

Nationwide the number of prosecutions has been largely stagnant for the past four financial years, but the amount of money wrongly claimed is increasing.

The maximum jail sentence for fraudsters is seven years and some judges have wondered if that is harsh enough.

“It seems as though there is an increasing number of these welfare fraud cases before the court,” Judge Gregory Ross said at a sentencing last year.

In Palmerston North District Court recently, Judge Gerard Lynch got tough on repeat offender Letisha Lilly Anne Proctor, who was jailed for eight months for receiving over-payments of $10,476 between December 2010 and October last year.

“Sentencing needs to clearly denounce fraud and deter those that might be minded to offend in the same way,” Judge Lynch told Proctor, ignoring her lawyer's plea to impose a home detention sentence and allow her to keep working.

“In my assessment it would be patently wrong to allow her leave to apply for home detention,” the judge said.

Proctor began offending while serving a home detention sentence for fraudulently obtaining $27,528 in benefits between August 2008 and May 2010.

She was then working for the ministry and created false identities and accessed client information for financial gain.

Another notable benefit fraud prosecution was in Feilding District Court this year when a mother and daughter duo combined to fleece the taxpayer of almost $130,000.

Care worker Tine-Marie Johnston was ordered to do seven months' home detention and 200 hours' community work after she wrongly claimed $97,215 domestic purposes benefit and accommodation supplement money between 2006 and 2011.

Records showed she was working and living with her partner. Her daughter, Josie Eve Mallinder, was sentenced to six months' community detention and 175 hours' community work for claiming $30,811 she wasn't entitled to.

Ministry deputy chief executive Iona Holsted said benefit fraud was taken seriously and there were about 100 investigators working around New Zealand, as well as a benefit fraud team based in Wellington.

Data matching with other government agencies checked about 538 million records a year, while a ministry allegation line received about 11,000 calls last year.

"Most cases the ministry investigates are around clients not being honest about their relationships and failing to tell us they're working whilst receiving the benefit," Ms Holsted said. "Irrespective of what type of fraud someone may be committing, if we suspect they're offending, we'll investigate. If that person meets the level of prosecution, we'll put them before the court."


Prosecutions in Palmerston North, Feilding, Levin, Marton and Dannevirke District Courts: 2007/8: 31 people, who had claimed $344,596 2008/9: 38 people, who had claimed $962,781 2009/10: 49 people, who had claimed $1,191,535 2010/11: 46 people, who had claimed $955,068 2011/12: 43 people, who had claimed $731,538 Total for five years: 207 people, who had claimed $4,185,518. Nationwide: There were 1028 prosecutions in 2007/8, 735 in 08/9, 789 in 09/10, 690 in 10-/11, 742 in 11/12.

- © Fairfax NZ News

#2 User is offline   redsquare74ucys 

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 09:03 PM

They take years to find someone is committing ongoing fraud, so not a hell of a
lot to applaud. The fraud could and should have been picked up earlier and I
doubt they are gonna get 90% of the money back in reparation.

#3 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:38 PM


Benefit fraud tops $23m in record year

By Jared Savage jaredsavageNZH
5:30 AM Monday Feb 25, 2013

Number of cons detected has soared since data-matching started.

Colin Diedrichs stole $447,514 but the ministry was able to claw back only $357,000, with the help of the police asset recovery unit. Photo / File

Identity fraudsters "systematically and methodically" stole more than $500,000 in benefit scams before being caught last year.

Forged medical records and birth certificates, including those with details stolen from dead children, were uncovered by investigators in a record year for benefit fraud which cost taxpayers $23.4 million.

Four people were jailed for identity theft frauds including Colin Diedrichs - who pretended to be two young boys who died decades ago - to claim extra superannuation payments over more than 20 years.

Others who used multiple identities to falsely claim benefits included Mare Hape ($20,971), Dobson Brown ($32,419) and Kataraina Slade ($44,357).

"Cases of identity fraud are rare and any person who commits it, does so not through opportunity but by systematically and methodically planning their offence," said Iona Holsted, deputy chief executive of the Ministry of Social Development.

Diedrichs stole $447,514 but the ministry was able to claw back only $357,000, with the help of the police asset recovery unit, under the Criminal (Proceeds) Recovery Act.

The four identity frauds prosecuted in 2011-12 were picked up by data-matching software introduced in March 2007, after the discovery of the biggest benefit fraudster in New Zealand history. Wayne Patterson used 123 fake identities to steal $3.4 million over two years - or $56,000 a fortnight - before he was caught in 2006 and jailed for eight years.

This was followed by a 2008 Auditor-General's report which said the ministry should improve the way it prevented, detected and investigated benefit fraud.

An intelligence unit was launched and data-matching is now conducted with other Government agencies including Inland Revenue, Internal Affairs, Housing New Zealand, Corrections, ACC and Customs.

Figures released to the Herald under the Official Information Act show fraud detected by the ministry has tripled from $7.5 million since those changes have been made.

Benefit fraud discovered last year cost taxpayers a record $23.4 million, with 742 prosecutions. Among those were seven ministry staff sacked and charged with taking $64,187.

But those caught cheating the system make repayments as little as $10 a week. The total amount of debt owed is $106 million.

The most common type of benefit fraud is failing to declare income and people who claim a single benefit while in a relationship.

Last week, Associate Social Development Chester Borrows outlined a range of measures to clamp down on welfare fraud, including a law change to allow the prosecution of the partners of welfare fraudsters who know about the fraud or benefit from it.

Other measures included more checking of beneficiaries who have been dishonest with Work and Income previously, including restricting their use of self-service online services.

Catching the cheats

Total benefits fraud
2005-06 $8.1m
2006-07 $7.5m
2007-08 $6.4m
2008-09 $11.1m
2009-10 $15.9m
2010-11 $22.6m
2011-12 $23.4m

Identity fraudsters

Colin Diedrichs
Stole the identities of dead children to defraud the taxpayer of $447,514. Sentenced to 2 years and 10 months in prison.

Mare Hape
Falsified birth certificates and medical records to steal $20,971. Sentenced to 1 year and 10 months in prison.

Dobson Brown
Used false identities and forged documents to steal $32,419. Sentenced to 3 years and 6 months in prison.

Kataraina Slade
Used multiple identities to steal $44,357. Sentenced to 20 months in prison.

Total $545,261
By Jared Savage jaredsavage NZH Email Jared

#4 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:55 PM

Benefit fraud crackdown cynical - Labour
Last updated 09:03 21/02/2013

DAVID SHEARER: Crackdown a "cynical political ploy".

A crackdown on beneficiary fraudsters and their partners is a "cynical political ploy", Labour leader David Shearer says.

Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows yesterday announced there would be a new offence created targeting partners or spouses of beneficiaries who are convicted of fraud.

It meant both parties would be charged, not just the person wrongly collecting the benefit.

Shearer said today that every time the Government was in trouble it used a beneficiary-bashing announcement to divert attention.

"I don't like anybody defrauding New Zealand and our system as much as anybody else does," he told TV3's Firstline.

But welfare fraud was worth $20 million while tax fraud was $120-$140m, he said.

"So let's do the same thing to those bankers who have partners who knowingly know about tax fraud and let's say 'you guys can got to jail as well'," Shearer said.

The new offence of relationship fraud would hold people to account for any debt incurred by their partners while fraudulently claiming a benefit.

Partners could face a fine of up to $5000 or 12 months in jail and MSD would be able to seize assets owned or jointly owned by a spouse or partner under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act to help pay off the debt.

About 700 cases a year were expected.

Borrows said there were few options available to prosecute partners who knew or benefited from such offending, leaving the entire debt with one partner.

#5 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 12:26 PM

Mother to be sentenced for fraud
Last updated 08:33 13/12/2013

A Waitara mother will be sentenced next year for benefit fraud totalling $118,347.45.

Te Au Mihi Delores Juanita Pani Adams,
31, pleaded guilty two months ago to 14 counts of benefit fraud stretching over 12 years.

In the New Plymouth District Court yesterday Adams, who was remanded in custody on her last appearance when she failed to attend a probation pre-sentencing interview, was released on bail to be sentenced on January 10.

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