A box-set of Outrageous Fortune DVDs has led to a trio being convicted for making a small fortune from a "bogus burglary".
New Plymouth couple Samantha, 25 and Hayden Smart, 26, were paid out $24933.70 by AMI insurance to replace electronics, firearms, snowboards, clothing and jewellery stolen when their rental home was broken into on January 11. They had since purchased a home, a police summary said.
In April, AMI insurance rang the police to voice their concerns about the alleged burglary and settlement of the claim.
On searching the Smarts' home, police found distinctive jewellery, a box set of Outrageous Fortune DVDs, a hard-drive and a child booster seat that had been reported stolen.
The couple eventually admitted to plotting with a Napier mate, Michael Holland, 26, to carry out a burglary of their rented Eltham home.
Holland had travelled to the Smarts' home with a friend on January 11. Samantha Smart took the children to a friend's place for dinner, with her husband joining them a few hours later. When the family returned about 1am they "discovered" their home had been burgled.
Police later found the reportedly stolen home theatre system and snowboard at Holland's Napier home.
Holland initially claimed he had bought the theatre system at a garage sale and that he had been given the snowboard. He later admitted to disposing of some of the Smarts' property, including a Ford ute.
He pleaded guilty to obtaining by deception when he appeared in the Napier District Court today. Lawyer Scott Jefferson said the fencing contractor had already lost work due to media coverage of the crime.
Judge Tony Adeane sentenced Holland to 125 hours community work for his part in the ''bogus burglary''.
The Smarts were sentenced to 250 hours community when they appeared in the New Plymouth District Court last month. They too pleaded guilty to obtaining by deception.
No reparation was ordered because the couple had paid back the insurance company in full.
Their lawyer, Kylie Pascoe, told the New Plymouth District Court that the couple had no real reason for embarking on the fraud and there was never any intention to use the money to buy a house with the insurance money, as police alleged. They bought their home with the help from family.
- © Fairfax NZ News