IRD worker jailed for $225,000 fraud

FRAUDSTER: Anita Gail O'Connor.
FRAUDSTER: Anita Gail O'Connor.

An IRD employee who created fake passports, birth certificates, IRD numbers and application forms, gaining just over $225,000 to spend on cars, gambling, groceries and electronics has been jailed.

In the Hamilton District Court today, Anita Gail O'Connor, 59, of Ngaruawahia, was sentenced to two years and five months' prison after last year pleading guilty to 163 fraud-related charges that span a five-year period.

Judge Glen Marshall described her offending as being on a large scale and had doubted her excuse that she was the target of gang members.

"The whole explanation to me seems somewhat hollow and fanciful. In my view it's an attempt to cover up the fact that your gambling had become such a problem and such an addiction that obviously it consumed you,'' he said.He cited her chronic gambling addiction as more of the reason for her persistent offending.

O'Connor worked for Inland Revenue Department in its child support area as a support officer from 1992 until she took voluntary redundancy in August 2009.

Court documents show her forgery began in January 2004 and money continued to be deposited into one account until November 22, 2010.

They only stopped because the IRD put a halt on the account.

IRD staff became suspicious after clients rang saying they had money deposited into accounts they did not have.

O'Connor corruptly used information obtained by her in her official capacity, in the names of various people, to obtain a child support refund and working for families tax credits and making false documents to obtain child support refunds.

She also obtained information on members of the public to obtain working for families tax credits, creating fake IRD number applications with intention to use them to obtain pecuniary advantage; using the IRD's computer system to get information to get child support refunds and working for families tax credits.

O'Connor took passports from Victoria, New Zealand and Western Australia for pecuniary advantage; made false requests for clients to obtain child support refunds; made false child support refund requests to obtain pecuniary advantage and made false birth certificates to obtain working for families tax credits.

O'Connor obtained $225,316.79,  however the IRD is seeking $362,000 that includes interest and other penalties.

When spoken to by investigators, O'Connor said she started her offending due to intimidation by gang associates, paying them $100,000.

She spent funds buying cars for herself and her daughter, vehicle expenses, gambling costs, purchases at Harvey Norman and groceries.

She also obtained birth certificates from taxpayer applications sent to IRD and modified them using twink before giving them to two Chinese people to make further modifications.

Waikato Times