A three-times bankrupted builder has pleaded guilty to benefit fraud.

Grant King has made headlines several times over recent years with complaints from disgruntled customers.

This week King appeared in the Auckland District Court on six charges of dishonestly taking or using a document, over a period of about two years.

The case was brought by the Ministry of Social Development, which said King was paid $6,800 he should not have received as the domestic purposes benefit while taking care of his daughter.


He had been expected to plead not guilty, and a hearing was set down for Monday and Tuesday but he then changed his plea and the case was brought forward to Friday.

King's lawyer, Kathryn Penrose, said King had tried to find work while he was on the benefit and his offending was not in the most serious range.

Judge Grant Fraser said King had simply been hoping he wouldn't get caught.

"Fraud like this is easy to commit and you need to understand that your offending involved offending against all taxpayers who work hard to pay tax.

"People who defraud the system effectively offend against every honest taxpayer."

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has confirmed that it is investigating claims that King was managing a business, Tern Anchors, without the consent of the Official Assignee. It is understood the Official Assignee plans to object to King's automatic discharge from bankruptcy next month.

King had denied that he was operating as the manager of Tern. "I'm not a manager, I'm an employee. I have a contract as a salesperson, the company is owned and run by the directors. I have no access to any financials whatsoever."

The company's directors did not want to comment.

Judge Fraser sentenced King to 200 hours' community work.

The ministry said he was facing the consequences of lying and would have to pay back the $6,812 that he stole.