Prison for ben­e­fit fraud

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

A Ti­tahi Bay man has been sen­tenced to 15 months’ prison for re­ceiv­ing a sole par­ent ben­e­fit worth $79,989 while in a re­la­tion­ship.

Riki Kyle Love, 33, had re­ceived the Do­mes­tic Pur­poses Ben­e­fit since 2007, claim­ing he lived with his par­ents and was rais­ing his 10- year- old son alone, Porirua Dis­trict Court heard last Tues­day.

In fact, he lived with his part­ner, who thought he was on the sick­ness ben­e­fit, his lawyer Anna Gil­lon said.

In Novem­ber 2012 Love was ques­tioned by Work and In­come staff and ad­mit­ted the fraud.

He was con­victed last Tues­day on one count of ob­tain­ing by de­cep­tion, and six counts of falsely us­ing a doc­u­ment, charges which car­ried a max­i­mum seven-year jail term.

Ms Gil­lon said Love had good char­ac­ter and con­trib­uted to the com­mu­nity by coach­ing chil­dren’s sport.

Let­ters of sup­port for Love were pro­vided by his em­ployer, Count­down Tawa, and his doc­tor, who said he suf­fered from de­pres­sion.

Judge Jan Kelly said Love’s crime was pre­med­i­tated, longterm and abused tax­pay­ers’ trust.

‘‘This type of of­fend­ing is easy to ac­com­plish and can con­tinue for a long pe­riod be­fore it is dis­cov­ered,’’ she said.

‘‘The com­mu­nity as­sists those less for­tu­nate through pub­lic funds and the ex­pec­ta­tion is that the re­cip­i­ent will be hon­est and that trust will be hon­oured.’’

Judge Kelly re­duced Love’s orig­i­nal 22-month sen­tence by two months for good char­ac­ter, and a fur­ther five months for his early guilty plea. Love will be el­i­gi­ble for com­mu­nity de­ten­tion.

He was also given 120 hours’ com­mu­nity work, ‘‘so you can give some­thing back to the com­mu­nity’’, Judge Kelly told him.

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