Detention for 'serious benefit fraud'

16:00, Oct 24 2012

An experienced district court judge told a Patea mother she had concocted the most sophisticated benefit fraud scheme she had seen.

Patricia Mania King, 32, appeared before Judge Josephine Bouchier in Hawera District Court yesterday for sentencing on one charge of obtaining by deception and nine charges relating to false use of a document.

King had pleaded guilty to the charges.

Between January 2003 and March this year, King received nearly $20,000 in accommodation supplements after naming a landlord who had died in 2002.

She was living in a property owned by the father of her children and did not pay rent.

Judge Bouchier said she had presided over many benefit fraud cases, but noted King had set up a bank account in her young daughter's name which only she herself could access to send the money.

"That is a feature of the offending I have not encountered in the courts and I regard as a serious aggravating feature."

She sentenced King to four months' home detention.

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