Woman scams thousands for fake dental work

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 13:51 22/01/2014

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A South Auckland woman got herself and her mates fraudulent benefit grants after successfully applying for urgent work from a fake dentist.

In total, Leanne Mita, 43, and seven others scammed a total $9,480 of special needs grants from the Ministry of Social Development.

The Hamilton District Court today heard Mita successfully applied for the unemployment benefit on July 9, 2012, but just a month later she had sent in an application for dental work, to be done at a dentist she knew to be false.

She was given $300.Given her windfall, Mita decided to help out her friends by telling them of her method. Seven of them also copied Mita's actions.

When spoken to by Ministry investigators, Mita admitted everything and said she knew it was wrong but she needed money to visit her parents in Hamilton.

Ministry prosecutor Carolyn Rameil said Mita told others because she wanted to help people in need.Mita had also been previously given a warning about fraudulent behaviour.

Mita's lawyer Glen Prentice told Judge Denise Clark that his client made a full and frank confession and realised ''it was a stupid thing to do''.

She had work as a caregiver so once she had completed her sentence she would be able to carry on paying reparation, and aimed to have it fully paid off soon.

Mrs Ramiel urged Judge Clark not to go easy on Mita just because the amount stolen was on the lower end of the scale.''Her culpability is great ... she also encouraged, aided and abetted the others to do the same thing,'' she said.

In sentencing Mita to 200 hours' community work on eight charges of using a document for pecuniary advantage, Judge Clark also noted Mita had no previous convictions, would soon pay the money back and that she had a job.

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- Waikato Times

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