A pair of Outrageous Fortune fans cooked up a scheme to raise a house deposit but came unstuck when they were caught out having their own home "burgled".
In a plot that could have come straight out of the TV comedy featuring a family of blundering criminals, the Taranaki couple used a mate to stage a break-in of their Eltham home.
Samantha Jane Smart, 25, and Hayden James Smart, 26, then used the insurance payout to buy their first house, in Bell Block.
But after paying out almost $25,000 to the couple, AMI Insurance smelled a rat and called police.
The insurance fraud was revealed in court documents before the New Plymouth District Court yesterday.
When police visited the Smarts' home and that of their mate - in Bell Block and Napier - they uncovered some of the property the couple had reported stolen but couldn't bear to part with.
At the Smarts' new home police found a boxed set of Outrageous Fortune DVDs, a diamond heart pendant necklace and a love link bracelet all of which had been listed as taken in the "break-in" of their Eltham home on January 12.
Their Napier mate, Michael Holland, 26, who admitted in the New Plymouth District court yesterday that he carried out the "burglary", pleaded guilty to obtaining by deception.
At Holland's home, police found a 46" Panasonic TV and purple snowboard, also reported stolen.
The Smarts have already pleaded guilty to the same charge of obtaining by deception and will next appear at a disputed facts hearing on October 31.
The police summary of facts, not read out in court, states the couple had been trying to raise money to buy a house.
They formulated a plan with Holland to stage a burglary at the High St house.
Holland travelled over from Napier with another friend and while the Smarts went out to a friends' home for dinner until 1am, he cleaned out their house and drove off in their Ford Courier ute, the summary says.
The couple reported the break-in to police, including on their list the ute, three firearms from a locked wardrobe, a large quantity of electrical and other items, including a 46" flat screen Panasonic TV, a blue-ray DVD, home theatre system, cameras, alcohol, snowboards, meat, bed linen, clothing and jewellery.
They made their claim on January 14 and AMI paid out $24,933.70.
The next month, the Smarts bought their new property.
In April, AMI reported their concerns to police and in May police obtained search warrants, discovering some of the property and charges were laid.
Defence lawyer for Holland, Patrick Mooney, said yesterday Holland was making efforts to raise the money for reparation.
Judge Max Courtney allowed Holland bail, ordering he not contact the Smarts.
Holland was remanded to appear in Napier on October 9.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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