Convicted IRD fraudster to be released

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 13:01 28/11/2013
Anita Gail O'Connor
FAIRFAX NZ
FRAUDSTER: Anita Gail O'Connor.

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A former IRD employee who stole more than $225,000 by creating fake passports, birth certificates and IRD numbers is to be paroled.

And it appears Anita Gail O'Connor -  who was sentenced to two years and five months' prison in the Hamilton District Court in February - has backtracked on her bogus alibi that she had been threatened by gang members to steal the money.

In her parole hearing on November 8, O'Connor confirmed that, as suspected by sentencing Judge Glen Marshall, it was a fiction.

O'Connor admitted 163 fraud-related charges that spanned a five-year period.

She worked for Inland Revenue Department in its child support area as a support officer from 1992 until she took voluntary redundancy in August 2009.

Court documents show her forgery began in January 2004 and money continued to be deposited into one account until November 22, 2010.

Her raft offending included taking passports from Victoria, New Zealand and Western Australia for pecuniary advantage; making false requests for clients to obtain child support refunds; making false child support refund requests to obtain pecuniary advantage and making false birth certificates to obtain working for families tax credits.

O'Connor obtained $225,316.79,  however the IRD was seeking $362,000 that included interest and other penalties.

When spoken to by investigators, O'Connor said she started her offending due to intimidation by gang associates, paying them $100,000.

She spent funds buying cars for herself and her daughter, vehicle expenses, gambling costs, purchases at Harvey Norman and groceries.

O'Connor acknowledged to the parole board that she had a gambling problem, who noted that it was a major driver in her offending. She referred to a family member having ACC payments cut off which was not only a loss of earnings but also a financial stress.

The parole board noted that was a fact that she had also not previously disclosed. The board noted that O'Connor had a number of health issues which would impact on her ability to get a job, and at her age, would prove difficult anyway.

However, she was motivated to engage in voluntary work. Despite needing to fully address her rehabilitation needs, the board found any risk would be by the board's view that O'Connor is ''unlikely ever to be in a position to undertake fraudulent activities on the scale which led to her being in prison.''

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Conditions of her parole include completing any counselling, budgeting advice as directed, a 9pm to 6am curfew and not to enter any ''premises with a gambling licence or gambling facilities''.

- Waikato

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