Benefit fraud nets home detention

COURT REPORTER
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014

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A Timaru man who worked for a year of the 18 months he was receiving a benefit has been sentenced to home detention for defrauding the taxpayer of more than $21,000.

Mark Stewart Henke, 37, was sentenced in the Timaru District Court yesterday on four charges of dishonest use of a document and four charges of misleading a social work officer.

He received nine months' home detention.

On March 18, 2009, Henke was granted the domestic purposes benefit.

He agreed he would advise if he had any change of circumstances, including getting employment. He was caring for three children at the time.

He completed applications for temporary additional support payments in August 2012 and March 2013. He also completed forms to continue his domestic purposes benefit.

Information sharing with the Inland Revenue Department uncovered that he held four jobs in the 18 months he was receiving a benefit and was overpaid by $21,483.

He worked at Silver Fern Farms for six months in 2012, two weeks at Demolition Solutions in Christchurch, three weeks at Allied Workforce in Christchurch and five months at Coughlans Construction in Christchurch.

He admitted the offending and said it was caused by family and alcohol dependency issues.

Judge Joanna Maze noted he had dishonesty convictions in 1995, 2010 and 2011.

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- The Timaru Herald

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