Woman duped her friend with $3292.11 phone bill

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Miriama Lagaaia appeared in Hastings District Court yesterday.
Miriama Lagaaia appeared in Hastings District Court yesterday.

A Hastings woman was landed with a hefty phone bill despite her best efforts to avoid it by setting up the account in someone else's name.

Miriama Lagaaia appeared in Hastings District Court yesterday and admitted obtaining and using a document for pecuniary advantage. She had asked a friend to loan her passport so she could photocopy it and use it as a form of identification to apply for a job at Wattie's.

Instead, Lagaaia used the details to open a false phone account with Spark, which she clocked up a $3292.11 bill on. She was ordered to pay that amount to the victim and to complete 60 hours' community work.

Judge Geoff Rea questioned whether the account had actually been set up as part of an agreement "between friends due to bad credit rating" but emphasised Lagaaia's actions by saying she had set up the account to "defraud" the phone company.

A Wattie's spokesman said there were processes in place for potential employees to go through during the recruitment process. Two forms of identification were needed when people applied for jobs and a passport could be used as one of those forms.

A Spark spokeswoman said the company took "the issue of identity fraud very seriously and have stringent processes in place to prevent it occurring " including requesting a form of legal identification".

She said if the form of ID supplied (such as a passport or driver's licence) had been reported stolen, it would "come to light when we do the credit check".

- Hawkes Bay Today

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