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Wish for independence leads to benefit fraud, judge told

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 03 June 2016 - 04:56 PM

Wish for independence leads to benefit fraud, judge told

Last updated 16:55, April 27 2016

http://www.stuff.co....raud-judge-told

A woman who moved to the South Island with her five children for a fresh start in life was sentenced on benefit fraud charges in the Gore District Court on Wednesday.

The summary of facts, which was read to the court, states Cherry Hazel Laaiva, 33, now of Bennydale, applied for a Domestic Purposes Benefit, now known as Sole Parent Support, in October 2005.

As a result of information received by the Ministry of Social Development it was established Laaiva was living with a partner from April 2013, but did not advise the ministry of the change in her circumstances.

Between October 8, 2013 and March 2015 Laaiva submitted four separate forms to the ministry stating she was not in a relationship.

When she was interviewed on July 9 she said she was aware of her obligations but the relationship was "up and down" and she wished to keep her independence.

As a result of the offending, Laaiva received an overpayment of $22,541.25.

If Laaiva had revealed her true circumstances she may have received Jobseeker Support and would have been paid $12,599.56.

Therefore the relevant loss to the Ministry was $9,941.69 and it sought reparation.

The court was told Laaiva cared for her five children and was still on a benefit.

She was tearful in the dock.


Judge Bernadette Farnan​ said Laaiva had two previous convictions for dishonesty convictions, both in 2009.

"I'm not going to make reparation for the whole amount of some $22,000 because she has limited means to pay it," Farnan said.

"This kind of offending affects us all. You have taken money from the public purse."

Laaiva was ordered to pay reparation of $9941.69, payable at $15 a week, which will be removed from her benefit by the ministry.

She was also sentenced to 175 hours community work.

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