Cheat faked forms

Te Awamutu Courier - - News - BY BELINDA FEEK

A Piron­gia mother who faked ben­e­fit forms to bleed $90,000 from the tax­payer still doesn’t seem to grasp the se­ri­ous­ness of her ac­tions, a judge says.

Dione Jean Millen falsely signed tem­po­rary additional sup­port, child in­clu­sion and Work and In­come re­view forms over four and-a-half years while still liv­ing with her part­ner.

She de­nied the pair were liv­ing to­gether and signed off on the forms be­tween March 2012 and June 2016 to col­lect the money.

Millen de­fended 13 charges, one of ob­tain­ing by de­cep­tion and 12 of us­ing a doc­u­ment for pe­cu­niary ad­van­tage, in the Hamil­ton Dis­trict Court ear­lier this year but was found guilty by Judge Philip Con­nell, who brought her back be­fore him for sen­tenc­ing last week.

Millen’s lawyer Rob Quin urged the judge to fol­low a pro­ba­tion rec­om­men­da­tion of home de­ten­tion and hand down some credit as she was a first time of­fender.

The min­istry still wanted her to serve a term of im­pris­on­ment and said al­though she could get some credit for pre­vi­ous good char­ac­ter she should not get any dis­count for re­morse as a pre-sen­tence re­port found she had none.

While Judge Con­nell agreed not to send her to prison, he said he was only do­ing it for the sake of her two chil­dren who had “com­plex med­i­cal needs” and re­lied on her for their care.

“To take you away from them de­spite the wrong­do­ing, it would not be just and would not be right for them. It’s my con­cern for them that home de­ten­tion must be the sen­tence im­posed.

“You’re not re­morse­ful, you show lit­tle in­sight into your of­fend­ing.

“There is in ef­fect a sense of en­ti­tle­ment in all of this from you and it was ev­i­dent in the way that you gave your ev­i­dence.

“It seemed al­right for you to lie to the court and I was less than im­pressed with the ap­proach you took with all of this.”

Judge Con­nell said it was a “com­bi­na­tion of a num­ber of fac­tors” that led him to find her guilty and de­ter­mine that she was liv­ing in a re­la­tion­ship in the na­ture of mar­riage with her part­ner de­spite her ev­i­dence to the con­trary.

“I re­jected your ev­i­dence be­cause to me, much of what you said dur­ing the course of it was un­truth­ful.

“Quite clearly you were com­pletely de­void of any hon­esty when you con­tin­ued to claim these ben­e­fits and these other al­lowances.

“There are con­trols in place to limit the of­fend­ing but it is ba­si­cally a sys­tem of trust and in this case you have se­verely breached that trust.”

Millen was sen­tenced to 10 months’ home de­ten­tion and or­dered not to pos­sess or con­sume drugs or al­co­hol, and un­der­take any cour­ses as de­cided by her pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer.

Her sen­tence would be ju­di­cially mon­i­tored, mean­ing the judge would be check­ing in on her progress and if any is­sues were dis­cov­ered she would be put be­hind bars.

Mau­rice O’Con­nor and Ger­man short­haired poin­ter Radar will rep­re­sent the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions at the Na­tional Po­lice Pa­trol and De­tec­tor Dog Cham­pi­onships next week.

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