Woman sentenced for claiming two benefits under two names

Last updated 05:00 15/04/2014

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A woman who claimed two benefits for nine years has been sentenced in the Waitakere District Court.

Faith Hellesoe, 34, faced five charges of obtaining by deception and 12 charges of fraudulently using a document. Between 2004 and 2013 the Glen Eden resident had been receiving two benefits during which time she also worked for six years.

Hellesoe first began receiving the Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB) in 1998 under her original legal name Ana Lavea. She changed her name in 2003 and the next year applied for the DPB again, this time under her new name. Her application stated she was not known by any other name and was not receiving any other benefit. Between 2006 and 2011 Hellesoe had also been working while receiving the benefits.

The Ministry of Social Development cottoned on that Lavea and Hellesoe was the same person last year by which time she'd been overpaid by $157,000.

An arrangement to repay the money had been made.

A pre-sentence report stated Hellesoe's remorse was "not as fulsome as some may like" but that her responsibilities for caring for her four children had to be taken into consideration.

Judge Eddie Paul sentenced her to 12 months home detention and 400 hours community work.

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- Western Leader

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