Benefit fraud is no longer home grown

Move over Metiria, the word is out that we are an easy international target for welfare fraud.

Cindy will want to add that detail onto our advertorial listing on the UN website for prospective migrants under the heading “We are numb nuts, come and help yourself to our money”.  Stuff reports. Quote.

A visitor to New Zealand started committing benefit fraud – that netted him $176,000 – about a week after he arrived in the country, a judge has been told.” End of quote.

It is simply outrageous that someone can come here and access welfare funding so quickly and easily. What kind of people do we employ at Work and Income? Quote.

By the time de Klerk, 36, was caught after five years in New Zealand he had fleeced the taxpayer of $176,461.73.

“This is plain simple theft from the community by creating fictitious beneficiaries,” Judge Bruce Davidson said sentencing de Klerk to two years and three months’ jail.” End of quote.

This fraudster got away with it for five years and, when caught, owned just a couple of old bangers worth $20k. Put him on a work programme in jail and don’t let him out until he’s paid what he stole plus what it cost for us to house him while he did it. On minimum wage, he’s going to be in there a very long time.  But it is time to get tough and send a message to his fraudster pals.

We were targeted by this UK resident who came here specifically to steal our money. Quote.

There was evidence of planning because he could not have created the identities he did on the spot….

The frauds were supported by fictitious documents so it was a crossover between benefit fraud and identity fraud…” End of quote.

How many other fraudsters are lurking here siphoning money from our bottomless pit of welfare funds?

Why hasn’t our history of homegrown fraudsters taught Work and Income that more robust checks and balances are well overdue?

Credit: 1NEWS

In August a retired hospital worker was convicted in the Christchurch District Court of multiple benefit fraud offences. She went undetected for over 20 years. Quote.

Pauline Urana Lowen, 70, faces a $347,408 bill after 20 years of benefit fraud. She pleaded guilty to five charges – including two of representative charges covering dozens of individual benefit fraud offences.

She submitted 49 forms to MSD over 20 years that contained false details about her relationship status, her work, and her in come and assets.” End of quote.

Lowen has deductions of $50 a week made from the superannuation she still receives to make repayment. Quote.

North said Lowen made seven repayments from her superannuation of $100 a fortnight. “At this current rate of repayment, she would have paid this debt off by 2150.” End of quote.

Cancel her superannuation and sell her assets to repay all the stolen money.  Whatever is left after deducting the cost of liquidating her assets is hers to live on for whatever time this fraudster has left.  Quote.

Defence counsel Richard Maze said the Commissioner of Police had sought a restraining order in civil forfeiture proceedings to freeze all of her assets.

He asked for the sentencing to be delayed until December so that forfeiture action could be decided. He said she should be allowed to dispose of the property so that she could offer a substantial reparation payment at the sentencing.” End of quote.

Substantial? That’s just not good enough.  We want it all back, thanks very much.

Who knows what sleight of hand this convicted fraudster is capable of regarding her asset sales. Forget home detention, she should be in jail on a work programme until she pays it all back.

It’s time to get tough on reparation and for Work and Income to take responsibility for our tax dollars seriously.


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