Fraudster given 200 years to pay back money

A Taranaki woman jailed for benefit fraud has been allowed nearly 200 years to pay back the $153,637.64 she took.

Barbara Ann Signal, 44, was yesterday sentenced at New Plymouth District Court to 18 months' imprisonment on four fraud charges.

Signal moved in with her de facto partner in January 1994 and failed to tell Work and Income, the Taranaki Daily News reported.

She continued to receive the domestic purpose benefit and an accommodation supplement up until 2006 when a Work and Income investigation revealed she had been overpaid $153,637.64.

Defence counsel Turitea Bolstad said the offending could be put down to Signal's partner not giving any financial support to her or her children.

Ministry of Social Development investigator Max Brooking said the department was not seeking a reparation order because it hoped to recover the money, to be paid back at $15 a week.

At that rate, Signal will have paid back the money by the year 2204.

- NZPA

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