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Murder link in benefit cheating

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 01:48 PM

Murder link in benefit cheating

By Cherie Taylor
7:15 AM Friday Sep 5, 2014

http://www.nzherald....jectid=11319424

HEAD BOWED: Toni Miller, seen here during the Glen Jones murder trial, is back in court for historical benefit fraud.

A woman already serving eight years in jail for her part in a 2013 murder has re-appeared in court to admit benefit fraud.

Toni Maree Miller, 23, was among seven Wairarapa people in the Masterton District Court to plead guilty on separate benefit fraud charges, involving more than $123,000 in total.

Before Judge Barbara Morris on Tuesday she pleaded guilty to defrauding the Ministry of Social Development of $29,383.91.

The court heard Miller collected the single-parent benefit, accommodation costs and temporary additional assistance while living with a man between October 25, 2010, and January 14, last year.

Represented by lawyer James Elliott, Miller pleaded guilty to one count each of obtaining by deception, knowingly altering a document and two of using a document to gain pecuniary advantage.

She was remanded in custody for sentencing on October 16.

Miller had waited on the street while Glen Jones of Featherston was murdered, and was sentenced to eight years for aggravated burglary. Her co-accused received life sentences.

Shane Harwood, 32, who is serving a 13-month jail sentence for defrauding an elderly Masterton woman of $35,000, pleaded guilty to one charge of misleading a ministry staff member and four of using a document for pecuniary advantage. He received an overpayment of $8281.30 over a year when he was working and claiming sickness benefit.

Lawyer Frank Minehan
said Harwood was addressing his addictions, which had led to his offending. Judge Morris sentenced Harwood to three months' jail to be served on top of his current sentence.

"It is comforting to see you doing something about your drug addiction," she said.

Phillip Pirere, 57, pleaded guilty to three charges of wilful omission. He was employed at three jobs between June 2011 and April last year, resulting in an overpayment of benefit of $8540.07 of invalid's payments. Judge Morris sentenced Pirere to 200 hours' community work.

Pasia Manesa, 37, who pleaded guilty to a charge of wilful omission and four of using a document to gain pecuniary advantage, was receiving the unemployment benefit, job seeker assistance, special needs grants, accommodation supplement and temporary additional assistance with an overpayment to the tune of $23,358.97 while working for Wahi Reka Kohanga Reo for nearly two years. He was remanded on bail for sentencing on October 16.


Kiley Ataretta Laris, 31, of Masterton,
pleaded guilty to four counts of wilful omission. While receiving the sickness benefit, between September 2008 and December 2012 she failed to advise she had been working at four places for short periods, wrongfully collecting $19,499.80 in benefit overpayments.

Judge Morris remanded her on bail for a pre-sentence report and sentencing on October 14.

William Joseph Reriti, 25, of Carterton
pleaded guilty to three counts of using a document to gain pecuniary advantage and five of wilful omission. He was overpaid $16,029.15 after failing to notify the ministry he was working in horticulture at different times while collecting the single-parent benefit. He was remanded for a pre-sentence report to assist the court at sentencing on October 14.

Masterton sickness beneficiary Ritchie Alfred Waipuka, 42, pleaded guilty to five charges of wilful omission. He worked for six different employers between October 2008 and September last year believing he could earn up to $5000 a year before declaring it to the ministry, a summary of facts stated. Waipuka received an overpayment of $18, 308.66.

He was remanded on bail for a pre-sentence report and sentencing on October 8.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

By Cherie Taylor
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