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WINZ case manager and wife charged with fraud

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  • WINZ case manager and wife charged with fraud

    An Auckland couple have been charged with one of the biggest internal frauds in Work and Income history after allegedly stealing $210,000 of taxpayer money by paying benefits to family members.

    The fraud was allegedly carried out over seven years before being discovered by the Social Development Ministry's fraud team. A 42-year-old WINZ case manager and his wife were arrested as a result.

    It is allegedly the second largest fraud in WINZ history.

    The case manager, who worked at a West Auckland WINZ branch, has been dismissed and he and his wife have appeared in Auckland District Court facing 11 charges.

    The pair face five charges each of obtaining a pecuniary advantage through WINZ benefits in family members' names, and the man is also accused of causing the ministry financial loss through accessing its computer systems.

    ''The fraud involves $210,000 of stolen benefit money which appears to have been illegally paid out to family members,'' Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle said in a statement.

    Boyle said the irregularities were discovered through the ministry's regular checks. ''Taxpayers need to trust our stewardship of welfare money.''

    Boyle said an investigation would determine how the fraud was carried out and what could be done to stop it in future.

    They would also work with police in the investigation.

    ''This is a significant fraud and I'm determined that all those involved will face the full weight of the law,'' he said.

    The biggest internal fraud at WINZ involved the theft of $1.9 million by an employee in 2004.
    Published: 9:38AM Tuesday May 01, 2012 Source: Fairfax

  • #2
    I have such great faith in the MSD , Benefit control act openly in defiance of Law and natural justice and are brave enough to boast that they are "Above the law", the most notable case of stupidity by this hapless band of idiots is well defined in The Supreme Court of New Zealand, SC 82/2006 [2007] NZCS 55


    • #3
      The stupidity does not lie with the beneficiary but rather with WINZ, under the Social Security Act 1961 WINZ are authorised to review benefits, the Benefit Review Committee (BRC) that has been criticised in the Judgement as an non Judicial panel of three, two of which work for WINZ and the other is a lay person, so when it comes to the vote WINZ will always win 2 votes to 3, the lay person is appointed by the Government, and his fee is paid by our taxes, the stupidity belongs to WINZ who for some reason did not have the appropriate ex policeman as chairman available on the day of BRC with Anthony Arbuthnot, Anthony was living with Mrs Bell, Another person was living in Anthony's WINZ subsidised rental property, the BRC found to the disgust of the MSD Chief executive that Anthony was not living in the nature of a marriage with Mrs Bell and that he did not have to pay pack a WINZ subsidy for the rental property occupied by another (the BRC represents the Chief executive).

      The decision of the BRC was simply upheld by the Social Security Appeal Authority, the Authority appears to be very reluctant to overturn BRC decisions

      The stupidity of the Chief executive to challenge the Social Security Appeal Authority in the Court of Appeal and lose.

      In my opinion, Anthony in order to protect himself from the very suspect decision processes of WINZ acting ultra varies, ignoring the law and possibly deciding to deduct money directly from his benefit....WINZ are simply out of control and have no respect for the rule of law and openly state they do as they please, I congratulate Anthony for finally getting WINZ to back off.

      Yoda this is a very simple overview.
      Last edited by wepu67; 19-03-2013, 10:50 PM.


      • #4
        The Accommodation supplement had been abandoned and written off [3]
        The Chief Executive is with the authority of the Prime Minister is charged with administering the Social Security Act 1964.

        Yes I think they have, the BRC acts on behalf of the Chief Executive, this case demonstrates an arbitrary power exercised by the Chief Executive, that is in layman terms reneging on a decision made on his behalf, I am of the firm opinion the Chief Executive should have grown a pair of balls, accepted the decision and moved on.

        [35]...."They are entitled to expect that a decisions made by the Department will not be disturbed save for a very good reason"

        [36]...."It would be seldom be appropriate for the chief executive to "reasonably Determine" under s.81(2) to recover them from a past date.

        my opinion is the Supreme Court should have been more definitive in favour of the applicant, it is a wee bit wishy washy.


        • #5
          Yoda I can only assume Anthony Arthbunot wanted WINZ off his back (so to speak), interesting was the comment by the chief executive that the rent arrears claim was written off by the Department at [5] The Supreme Court


          • #6
            Yes: "Are decisions of court in New Zealand propagandas for the Government"?

            I am of the opinion that benefit fraud cases are and remain the panacea for all the ills of New Zealand society in the eyes of successive Governments, each administration have allowed WINZ to crush beneficiaries with less that satisfactory evidence and a complete contempt of the rule of law, once charged by those in Authority the beneficiaries become the fodder of the judicial system, The Law Commission have stated any defendant facing charges for which the penalty is 14 years or more, then that equates to an automatic jury trial, (Crimes Act x 2) a total of 14 years and one charge under the Social Security Act 1964 = 15 years, beneficiaries are charged under the Summary Proceedings Act (50/50 Judge only fix) or a sentencing indication that does not comply nor resemble any observed practices by others in the world community.


            • #7
              Ruka V Ministry of Social Wefare [1997] NZLR 154

              A Ministry of Social Development review of benefit overpayments established due to relationships in the nature of marriage between 1 November 1996 and 31 December 2000 resulted in the reversal of over $35 million of debt wrongly held to be owed by almost 3000 beneficiaries.

              At least a further $60 million of wrongly established debt remains, and is still being recovered from the poorest in our community.

              The review followed an independent report to the Minister of Social Services that the Ministry of Social Development had failed to apply the correct test as set out by the Court of Appeal in Ruka v Department of Social Welfare [1997] 1 NZLR 154.

              The Joychild Report found “strong evidence that the incorrect legal test had been applied” in cases involving relationships in the nature of marriage between 1 November 1996 and 31 December 2000, and recommended that all overpayments established during this period be reviewed.

              Reasons identified in the report for the failure included a culture within the Ministry’s Benefit Control Unit (BCU) based on financial targets and incentives aimed at recovering from beneficiaries as much money as possible, including a “Million Dollar Club” for BCU investigators who establish over $1 million against beneficiaries in a year.

              While a huge 63% of the overpayments revisited were disestablished, only 5700 applications were received. This is out of a total of more than 15,600 potentially wrong decisions made within the timeframe. The Ministry could review the additional 9900 cases but chose to put the onus on beneficiaries to apply to have their cases reconsidered, rather than fix errors based on information it has at its fingertips. Moreover, out of the remaining 37% of cases that were reviewed and upheld, there is evidence that shows the review panels arrived at conclusions by stepping outside of the review’s Terms of Reference set by the Minister of Social Services.

              In addition, those affected by decisions involving determinations of relationships in the nature of marriage outside of the timeframe ought to have been given the opportunity to have their cases considered. There is evidence that the Ministry continues to ignore the Ruka test or apply it incorrectly.

              A Unit Driven by Money

              The government agency responsible for ensuring that basic needs of the poorest in society are met, instead created a culture that persecuted those on the lowest incomes. When requested by the Minister to put things right, that same agency went out of its way to avoid the accountability needed to ensure that those affected were treated with a fairness required by law. The BCU has a culture of financial gain so entrenched that it operates unfairly, unlawfully, and contrary to the principles of natural justice.