Els­don woman took ben­e­fit while work­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

An Els­don woman was over­paid more than $20,000 as a re­sult of work­ing two jobs while on the ben­e­fit.

Tafaoga Faleesea Joanne Mihi Sopoaga, 25, pleaded guilty to charges of wil­ful omis­sion, pro­vid­ing a false state­ment and us­ing a doc­u­ment, when she ap­peared in Porirua District court last week.

Lawyer for the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment, Caleb Bridge­man, said that in an in­ter­view in De­cem­ber, Sopoaga had said she knew what she did was wrong, but was des­per­ate.

She was granted a do­mes­tic pur­poses ben­e­fit on Oc­to­ber 13, 2008.

She be­gan work­ing for Care Di­rect in 2011 and Bark­ers Cloth­ing in 2012, but did not let Work and In­come know.

She is still em­ployed by the two com­pa­nies.

In July 2012, Sopoaga started work at Espresso Car Wash and was granted a Tran­si­tion to Work grant to as­sist with start­ing. She stated she was not re­ceiv­ing any other in­come.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing work at the car wash, Sopoaga re-ap­plied for the do­mes­tic pur­pose ben­e­fit and was granted it from Septem­ber 8, 2012.

She stated she earned $2286 in six weeks from the car wash, but failed to re­veal she had also earned $2602.79 from her two other jobs.

Sopoaga stopped her ben­e­fit on Oc­to­ber 4, 2013, af­ter her re­la­tion­ship sta­tus changed.

Be­tween Oc­to­ber 13, 2008, and Oc­to­ber 4, 2013, Sopoaga was over­paid $22,880.01.

Judge John Walker con­victed her and she was re­manded un­til June 24.

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