Convicted couple admit to $12,000 benefit fraud

By Court Reporter

A Wanganui couple have been convicted of siphoning more than $12,000 worth of illegitimate benefit payments.

Thomas McGregor, 30, and Tiffany Topia, 27, appeared before Judge Mike Behrens, QC, in the Whanganui District Court on Tuesday, with McGregor admitting charges of obtaining by deception and dishonesty using a document, and Topia admitting a charge of being party to obtaining by deception.

A summary of facts states that McGregor applied for the unemployment benefit in March 2011, which he received from March 15 until it was suspended on July 18, 2011.

His application for the benefit included a letter, signed by Topia, which said he would reside at her address and be charged a board, including power and food, of $180 per week.

McGregor and Topia, who were in a de facto relationship, maintained they were cousins.

This allowed McGregor to receive the unemployment benefit at a rate he would not normally be entitled to, and he was overpaid by $12,346. Both were convicted of their respective charges and discharged.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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