Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Spot the difference

Mother of four jailed over $51,000 benefit fraud, New Zealand Herald, 2 March 2012:

A Rotorua mother of four who netted $51,000 through benefit fraud has been sent to jail for a year.

Margaret Doreen Heta, 46, a sickness beneficiary, appeared in Rotorua District Court today for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to a charge of misleading a Ministry of Social Development officer and two charges of using a document to gain a pecuniary advantage.

Judge James Weir told the court Heta had received $51,000 in benefits over a four-year-old period to which she was not entitled as she was living in a marriage-type relationship.

Woman jailed after 19 year benefit fraud, Hawkes Bay Today, 7 August 2012:
A Napier woman has been sentenced to two years and one month in jail for $167,000 of benefit fraud her lawyer says started "almost by accident" when she learned she had two names.


Over the 19 years of offending she obtained about $75,000 in unemployment benefits and $73,000 in sickness benefits, along with accommodation supplements, training benefits, student and disability allowances and other benefits and grants.

It ended in February this year and Walker admitted the offences when interviewed by Ministry of Social Development investigators.

Judge calls benefit fraud a 'disgrace' following case, One News, 31 August 2012:
Benefit fraud is a national disgrace, a judge said after jailing a mother-of-two who wrongly took more than $80,000 in domestic purposes payments.

Warea woman Lisa Maria Reid, 34, admitted fraudulently receiving $80,552.32 in benefits and rent when she was living with her husband for the past four years.


But Judge Allan Roberts said the $80,000 involved 200 separate payments.

"Benefit fraud is a national problem and a national disgrace.

"This was serious offending. It was a maintained deceit over four years. The actual loss was significant and the prospects of recovery non-existent."

In sentencing Reid to 12 months in jail, the judge said an electronically monitored sentence was not appropriate.

Tax cheat owes taxpayer $705K , Stuff, 1 October 2013:
A "serial tax cheat" who evaded paying $979,000 over more than 15 years has been sentenced to a year's home detention.

Paul Andre Kinsman, a former property developer, had previously admitted 28 charges of tax evasion.

A total of $705,445 of tax money he should have paid is still missing, Inland Revenue says.

He was sentenced in Wellington District Court today to 12 months' home detention, 275 hours of community work and ordered to pay $25,000 on 25 charges of knowingly filing false GST returns, two charges of knowingly not providing GST returns, and one charge of knowingly failing to provide returns for income tax.

So, steal a million dollars through GST fraud, get home detention. Steal even a fraction of that from the benefit system, and you go to jail (oh, and your inability to repay quickly - that is, being poor - is regarded as an aggravating factor. For wealthy tax cheats, the question never arises). Yet another example of how the courts are stacked in favour of the rich.

If we want people to believe in the justice system, then this gross disparity must be eliminated. If home detention is appropriate for million dollar tax cheats, its appropriate for million dollar welfare cheats as well - and vice versa.