They’re dreamin’ if they think it is that low

Jared Savage has written an article about benefit fraud. Apparently, shock horror, it has trebled from 5 years ago:

Benefit fraud cost taxpayers a record $22.6 million last year, and nine social welfare staff were sacked for ripping off the system.

Figures released to the Herald under the Official Information Act show fraud detected by the Ministry of Social Development has tripled from $7.5 million five years ago.

At that time, the ministry set up a fraud intelligence unit because of an international trend towards increasingly elaborate scams, including the use of stolen and faked identities, said chief executive Peter Hughes.

The ministry had also been embarrassed by Wayne Patterson, who used 123 fake identities to steal $3.4 million over two years – or $56,000 a fortnight – before he was caught in 2006 and jailed for eight years.

His offending is still the largest benefit fraud – the second largest amount stolen was $571,000 in 2008.

Oh right so it tripled because they are detecting it better…that is a good thing.

However it hasn’t tripled, the fraud has always been there and under Labour there was a dis-inclination to care about it.

But let me tell you…their fraud is quite a bit larger than $22 million. That is only what they publicly admit to. In private the numbers are more like $200 million. The trouble is most of the staff who can do anything about this are wombles who wear grey Julius Marlow double zip shoes, tan knee socks, tan walk shorts and yellow shorts with big lapels, even in summer they ear their grey cardigan with leather buttons. I know this because I have met them.

Back in 2000 their state of the art fraud department consisted of the aforementioned womble and a couple of helpers using state of the art analysis tools like Excel.

Proper data visualisation tools or appropriately designed farud detections suites were and probably still are non-existant. I know this must be the case because otherwise  the cases like Wayne Patterson’s wouldn’t be happening.


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  • Anonymous

    At least with Wayne, they got their money back and more. He invested shrewdly and WINZ was able to claw back all his investment gains under the legal concept of ‘equity’. That soon took the grion off his face – he thought he would have a nice little nest egg when leaving jail despite paying back what he defrauded. Unfortunately in most other cases they can only ‘establish an overpayment’ and hook it back at $10/week or so from benefit payments.

    One thing WINZ could do is require bneficiaries with significant overpayments (by fraud or otherwise) to identify parents, aunts, uncles, etc who might leave them money, or trusts, and give WINZ power to ‘attack’ wills and trusts on behalf of the defaulting beneficiary.

  • $22 Million I wish.

    When they made people re-apply for the dole they lost 10% of their claimants. 

    What about all of those who are living together and claiming the DPB. 

    What about those doing cash jobs.

    What about those who are on the dole and not bothering to look for work at all. 

    • Paul Rain

      Nah, doing cashies is legit. The less money the taxman takes the better. Unfortunate if the people doing it are on a benefit too, but then the key is to take the benefit away rather than discourage the avoidance of paying for the social engineering agenda of government.

  • ConwayCaptain

    I have just been to Tokoroa WINZ to fill in the pape work to get the pension when I turn 65 this month.

    I was asked if I had ever had a benefit before and when I said NO the look on the woman’s face was priceless.  Someone who has NEVER had a benefit

    • HeinB

      I don’t like the idea of a pension being lumped in as a benefit. Especially for someone like you who has never been on one. A pension is a right for anyone who had contributed for their entire life.

      • Peter Wilson

        Except someone on the benefit for a brief time would say the same thing. They’ve paid taxes as an insurance for bad times. And what about the greedies that carry on working AND get the benefit. That’s why I like Brash’s idea of deferring your super benefit.

        It’s all politics and different points of view. I haven’t even touched on the salaries of public servants; thats the classical middle class rip off. Child care subsidies, enabling middle income earners to pay for that extra overseas trip this year.

  • Argon

    Problem these days is too many people expect that they deserve all the things they see in the stores/movies/TV – whether or not they can actually afford them.
    They spend (waste) their money on non-essentials and then turn around and plead poverty to which taxpayers have to pick up the slack.
    I realise there are those genuine cases out there but for everyone of those there are many out there that simply do not understand how to manage their own money – comes down to the old saying: “Beggars can’t be choosers”.

    • Anonymous

      I know…the amount of people I know who are on benefits and still have a big telly and sky  tv is astounding. The basic necessities of life are quite minimal – food, water, clothes and a place to live. If you want any more than that then you have to work for it. 

      • Anonymous

        Actually letting them have lots of telly is politically beneficial – keeps their minds off other things. The totalitarian state portrayed in “1984” produced lots of ‘entertainment’ for this very reason – it was called ‘prole-feed’ (proletariat entertainment).

      • Unknown

        Unfortunately this problem is started by Work and Income themselves.  When I was a Case Manager for them I was reprimanded by a branch manager for not considering a TV as a Need for a woman who was on DPB.  The argument was that without a TV this women may feel isolated from the community and become depressed.

      • Anonymous

        @ unknown
        It’s sad that I find that so easy to believe. Find their justification amusing though; I would think a TV would actually isolate you more from the community as opposed to say, going to the public library and borrowing books (for free!)

      • James Gray

        @1a0bd4c1f6b1093fc191aa4fa6c0eccc:disqus It’s this sort of thing that keeps people in poverty… The TV is more of a way to isolate from the community than to connect with it… I like #4 of 

  • A-random-reader

    Wayne Patterson was a genius (an outlier for this type of offending). I have no doubt he’d be a multi-millionaire if he had applied his skills to a legitimate business setting.

  • Brian Smaller

    $200million? Probably $2billion more like.  When I used to rent houses to DPBers in the Hutt almost every family that came to look at a property consisted of a Dad (usually working as I had references and contact numbers of their employers), a Mum and 2-3 kids – and almost every one wanted the tenancy in the wife’s name alone and the rent was always paid directly from WINZ as she was on the DPB.  

    • Gavinc

      People that turn a blind eye to fraud for their own benefit are in my opinion also guilty of benefit fraud

    • Honcho

      Was happening where I grew up in Levin, good friend of mine, mum and dad living all together under one roof, yet they were not married and will never be, and despite being the dad’s kid, mum had not listed him as the dad on his birth certificate.

  • Liberty

    Benefit fraud is
    why there should be a voluntary  parasite
    card. (ID card)

    You don’t have to have a card . It would be voluntary.  But if you want a payment  from the state you do.  

    ACC, Welfare, IRD, Health  etc should be all linked. 

  • Charles2336

    WINZ did not catch out Wayne Patterson. It was a Kiwi Bank employee who noticed that the same IP address was being used to access dozens of different bank accounts, all of which received welfare benefit payments.

    WINZ can not claim credit for catching Patterson, that accolade rests with a Kiwi Bank employee.

    • Paul Rain

      Surprised they haven’t been prosecuted for some violation of the Privacy Act.

  • captain kidd

    I had a woman working for me that got caught,as she had a defacto (for 11 years)while claiming dpb.This was four years ago.She had to pay back $1500,she then went out and spent the 20k she had in the bank (that she thought she would need to pay back)to buy a car.Go figure?.11 years at $400 a week= $228000,not a bad earner.

    • kevin

      That grates…