Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Why people commit benefit fraud

1/ Because they can

2/ Because it's easy

3/ Because the consequences are trivial

Anne Sepuloni is a case in point, and typical.

She has effectively been given a 14-year, $20 weekly penalty on her benefit (or Super.)

The NZ Herald reports:

For defrauding the Ministry of nearly $34,000, he gave her a sentence of four and a half months' home detention.
He said other mitigating circumstance - including her clean record, early guilty plea and show of remorse - cut the starting-point sentence further to nine months' jail.
The judge then accepted the pre-sentencing report recommendation that the jail sentence be converted to home detention. Sepuloni must also do 250 hours of community work and repay $15,000 at the rate of $20 a week.

It's pathetic.

But it happens in thousands of cases. The offender remains on a benefit, supported by the taxpayer albeit it at a slightly reduced rate.

It's pathetic.

If NZ was serious about benefit crime it would bar fraudsters from eligibility. That might be the deterrence factor required.


gravedodger said...

How sensible Lindsay, that penalty is Laughable . How much of the 34k needs to be now invested to replace the one jug a week penalty.
Walk into WINZ looking simple then walk out muttering they are simple, eh.

Anonymous said...

$20 per week for three years goes nowhere near repaying the amount stolen, never mind interest. I agree with disqualification from eligibility otherwise where's the penalty?

Anonymous said...

Compare that penalty to some handed out via Mobie Health and safety and the Employment court.
Makes a mockery of people and businesses earning the cash to pay these slugs.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Anon 1, Quite. My maths was appalling. Re-calculated.

I wonder if the repayments are inflation-adjusted? Her benefit will be.