Hastings beggar convicted of fraud

Frank Lovich is paid $380 per week by Work and Income, and has a home in Hastings. Photo / File
Frank Lovich is paid $380 per week by Work and Income, and has a home in Hastings. Photo / File

A Hastings beggar was convicted of fraud yesterday after he claimed to be homeless when he was not.

Police confirmed Frank Lovich's case was heard in the Hastings District Court yesterday.

Lovich pleaded guilty by audio visual link to 16 charges on Monday, Fairfax reported.

The offending happened on November 16 when Lovich went to the Bay City Plaza mall and held a sign begging for food, shelter and money, claiming he was homeless, Fairfax said.

According to a summary of facts, Lovich is paid $380 per week by Work and Income, and has a home in Hastings.

Lovich admitted the facts and said Work and Income did not give him enough money, Fairfax said.

He will reappear in April for sentencing.

The man's case was heard in the Hastings District Court yesterday. Photo/file
The man's case was heard in the Hastings District Court yesterday. Photo/file

A Ministry of Social Development spokesman said the ministry did not "specifically record information identifying people who are begging in the streets".

"The general issue of begging on New Zealand's streets is led by individual local authorities. However, the Ministry of Social Development does have a supporting role in terms of addressing issues of income support, employment and homelessness.

"We endeavour to ascertain a client's financial position as we assess what assistance we can provide them. We rely on clients to provide an honest and full account of their current financial position, including any current sources of income."

The issue of begging on the streets was a hot topic in Wellington last week at a retailer group meeting, where members said beggars were becoming more opportunistic and using standover tactics.

Those attending the OurCBD meeting heard beggars were coming in to town more on days when cruise ships were in, and were operating on a roster-type system for the best begging spots.

- NZ Herald

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