A man who allowed his benefit payments to continue for a year after he got a job was told by a judge his actions amounted to theft from the community of money that could be better used by the Government.
Ronald Mangu Herbert Kingi, 43, pleaded guilty to wilful omission in the Wanganui District Court after he continued to accept unemployment benefit payments even though he had gained employment.
Ministry of Social Development prosecutor Pip Transom said Kingi was first granted the unemployment benefit in September 2005, and from then on remained on either a sickness or unemployment benefit until his payments were stopped in June, 2011.
He started working for Rangitikei Enterprises in April, 2010 and remained employed there.
The Ministry of Social Development's data-matching inquiries led them to discover he was receiving an income.
After attempts to contact him were unsuccessful, his benefit payments were cancelled.
When interviewed, Kingi said he knew his obligations but didn't advise Work and Income because he wasn't sure of the reliability of his job or income.
However, weekly wage details showed he was receiving a regular income.
Kingi was overpaid $14,025.91 in benefits and accommodation allowance.
Fenella Devlin, acting for Kingi as duty solicitor, said he accepted he didn't let Work and Income know of his change in circumstances.
His father had died during the overlapping period and things had got on top of him, she said. However, he accepted full responsibility for the offending and knew he had let himself down.
Judge Dugald Matheson told Kingi what he did was theft.
In his favour, he had pleaded at the first opportunity, and made arrangements to pay back the money.
He was still employed and he wanted to keep him that way, Judge Matheson said.
Kingi was sentenced to 120 hours community work.