28k benefit fraud "for family"

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 16:50 07/12/2012

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A Hamilton woman who pocketed nearly  $28,000 in extra benefit payments says she was just trying to support her family.

Amber Beange, 32, was today sentenced to four months' community detention and 200 hours' community service on five fraud-related charges in the Hamilton District Court.

During a period between the end of June, 2010 and end of February 2012, Beange received $27,930.78 of Work and Income benefits she was not entitled to.

Beange failed to tell authorities that she was living with her partner.

Counsel Rahul Sharma said Beange's partner had written a letter to the court admitting responsibility for not willing to support his family.

He had fallen into depression after losing his job.

Beange then took on the responsibility of looking after him as well as her two children, aged 1 and 6.

''It was not for personal greed, but the necessity for survival for the benefit of her children and partner.''
Had Beange been honest with authorities she would have only been entitled to $7,390.58, which was deducted from the total amount owed to the Ministry of Social Development.

Judge Merelina Burnett accepted Beange's position and rather than handing down a home detention sentence, opted for community detention and work so that she could give something back to the community.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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