Home detention for DPB fraud

Last updated 12:52 11/04/2014

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A west Auckland woman who claimed two domestic purposes benefits for nine years - and worked while getting them - has been sentenced to 12 months home detention.

Glen Eden mother-of-four Faith Hellesoe, 34, appeared in the Waitakere District Court today for sentence on five charges of obtaining by deception and 12 charges of fraudulently using a document.

Judge Eddie Paul said Hellesoe had been on the DPB since January 1998, in her original legal name, Ana Lavea.

She changed her name to Faith Hellesoe in July 2003 and in December 2004 applied for the DPB in that name.

Her application stated that she was not known by any other name and that she was not receiving any other benefit.

Judge Paul said Hellesoe received two benefits between 2004 and 2013, when inquiries by the Ministry of Social Development determined Hellesoe and Lavea were the same person.

It was also determined that between 2006 and 2011, Hellesoe had been working while receiving the two benefits.

In total, she was overpaid $157,000.

The Ministry did not seek a reparation order but an arrangement to repay the money had been made, the judge said.

A pre-sentence report said that while Hellesoe's remorse was "not as fulsome as some may like" her responsibilities of caring for her children tipped the balance in favour of home detention.

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

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