Judge gives relationship advice to benefit cheat

Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012

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A Timaru woman who falsely claimed $18,000 in domestic purposes benefit (DPB) while living with her partner had been unsure the relationship would last, a court has heard.

Amania Liiysha Akurangi, 22, told investigating officers she had deliberately not told authorities she was living with her partner, the father of her daughter, because the relationship was not secure.

As a result, she was overpaid $17,981, a Ministry of Social Development summary of facts said.

Akurangi was granted the DPB and accommodation supplement for the "care and support" of her daughter in 2008.

Judge Joanna Maze rejected Akurangi's argument in the Timaru District Court yesterday, telling her: "If there's a risk it's unstable then don't get into a relationship. It's that simple. It's not for the taxpayer to fund you while you consider your options."

She was ordered to complete 175 hours community work.

Jamie Lyn Hatata, 31, of Timaru, also appeared yesterday, charged with wilful omission, having failed to advise the ministry her child was no longer living with her while continuing to collect the DPB. The child had gone to live with her father.

Hatata said she had been struggling with financial problems and knew her benefit would decrease if her daughter was not included.

She was ordered to undertake 40 hours community work.

Hatata cost the taxpayer a total of $4142.23.

Other matters Ricki Benjamin Green, 23, of Timaru; injuring with intent - two months imprisonment.

Leighton Andrew Veale, 22, of Timaru; two charges of wilful damage - ordered to pay $2486.86 reparation.

Malachi Joshua Drake, 21, of Timaru; EBA 645mcg - fined $500, disqualified from driving for six months.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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