Fraudster sentenced

SARAH DUNN
Last updated 13:00 12/07/2014

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A viticulture and winemaking student was sentenced yesterday for benefit fraud that allowed him to take more than $20,000 from Work and Income over two years.

Blair Campbell Putaheke Taylor was found guilty on two charges of wilful omission and two charges of dishonesty using a document.

He is part-way through a course of study at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and is due to graduate next year.

Lawyer Steven Zindel said Taylor had been working for four different employers, and failed to disclose two of them to Work and Income. He said there was an element of "mission creep" to the offending as the work was seasonal. Taylor submitted two review forms to Work and Income during this time which did not mention the two other jobs.

Judge Couch said Taylor had begun to offend from the moment he earned an extra dollar, describing his behaviour as "serious offending" which involved a breach of trust.

"When you take from the state, you steal from us all, and that, in my opinion, renders it very serious indeed."

He was given community detention for four months and 150 hours of community service, and must repay $22,587.67.

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- Nelson

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