Woman ordered to repay $27,000
A Cannons Creek woman who failed to tell Work and Income she had employment has been sentenced to community detention and ordered to repay her $27,000 overpayment.
Margaret George, 51, reappeared in Porirua District Court last Tuesday charged with not telling Work and Income of her change in circumstances and of being overpaid.
George previously appeared on January 14, pleaded guilty to three charges, and was remanded at large until February 11.
Defence lawyer Andrew Moore suggested a sentence of community detention and community work because George had family relying on her.
‘‘It will allow Ms George to give back to the community,’’ he said.
Mr Moore said George had raised six children, three of them through family adoption.
‘‘She has looked after children for most of her life.’’
He said she was no longer employed and was relying on her grown children and partner to support her.
Mr Moore said George fell into a trap when she decided not to not alert Work and Income.
Over the following two years she submitted documents stating she was not working.
She was interviewed in August 2013 regarding the matter, and said she was aware of her obligations, but she had not advised Work and Income because her employment was initially part-time and she did not want to have to reapply for the benefit.
As a result, she received an overpayment of $27,228.20.
Ministry of Social Development prosecuting lawyer Claire Duncan agreed with Mr Moore’s suggested sentence of community detention and community work.
Judge John Walker said the repeated nature of the crime worked against George, despite her having no previous convictions.
‘‘That was a repeated failure on your part,’’ he said.
He sentenced George to four months’ community detention, with a curfew from 7pm till 7am, and 250 hours of community work.
George was also required to repay $27,228 overpayment in weekly payments.