Taranaki woman used another person's details to set up power accounts
Dire financial circumstances drove a Taranaki woman to set up power accounts using someone else's personal details.
On April 1, 2015, a woman lost her wallet at a takeaway store in Hāwera and reported it to police.
Nearly four months later, on July 21, 2015, Eltham woman Tina Marie McGregor, 44, began to use details found in the wallet to get $3031 worth of electricity over 22 months, a police summary of facts said.
On July 21, 2015, McGregor phoned Trustpower to create an account for an address in Eltham where she was living.
"She has given the informant's first and last names and date of birth as part of her application. The informant did not give permission," the summary stated.
The defendant used power from July 21, 2015, to November 15, 2016, accumulating a debt of $1,798.98.
On November 16, 2016, the defendant phoned Meridian Energy to create a power account, which she used from that date until April 27, 2017, accumulating a debt of $1232.15. The informant did not give permission for this.
Last week, McGregor appeared in Hāwera District Court for sentence on two charges of obtains by deception, which she had previously pleaded guilty to.
Lawyer Rajan Rai said McGregor's offending arose due to her dire financial circumstances.
"She has made some good changes and moved to cheaper accommodation and changed her lifestyle."
Rai said McGregor could afford to pay $15 per week in reparation. At that rate it would take her almost four years to pay the debt off.
Judge Chris Sygrove sentenced her to 12 months supervision and 100 hours of community work and ordered her to pay reparation.