Benefit fraudster gets 11 months' jail time
A Palmerston North woman has been jailed for benefit fraud, offending that continued while she served a term of home detention for stealing from a school.
Between January 2008 and January last year, Sandra Reay Taylor, 49, received benefit overpayments of $24,497 while working for Accord Advantage, then City Doctors, and finally the Balfour cleaning firm.
Her deception continued through a five-month home detention sentence, imposed in June 2008, for stealing $27,000 from Opiki School, where she worked as the office administrator.
In the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, she was sentenced to 11 months' prison on three charges of obtaining by deception and two of dishonestly using a document.
Judge Gregory Ross did not let her apply for home detention.
"It's had no effect on preventing reoffending. In my view, any other sentence but a term of imprisonment would be inappropriate as a response for this further offending on your part," the judge told Taylor.
"The message must be given to beneficiaries who contemplate offending, as you have done, that if they are caught, it's not worth it."
While claiming the domestic purposes benefit, Taylor completed two benefit assessment forms where she failed to declare extra income.
When Taylor was questioned by fraud investigators she said she had told Work and Income about her employment.
"The [Social Development] ministry has no record of the defendant advising such changes," a court summary says.
Taylor's current double-dipping was uncovered when ACC records were matched with Work and Income's.
She has a dishonesty conviction from the 80s on top of her fraud conviction for stealing money from Opiki School for two years from 2005.
Defence lawyer Dawn Patchett told the court Taylor was paying that money back at $85 a week.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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