Martin Pim wrote out fake donations and fake invoices, along with a thank you letter to himself, but says he didn't realise he was doing anything wrong.
In fact, Pim, a truck driver, told probation staff that he felt like he was the victim and that the Inland Revenue Department had it all wrong.
Pim reappeared in the Hamilton District Court today for sentencing after earlier pleading guilty to nine fraud and tax evasion charges.
Pim's lawyer, Garth O'Brien, told Judge Simon Menzies his client didn't realise he was doing anything wrong and was "naive" as to legalities of it all.
"Mr Pim shifted blame to the [IRD] and he thought that was okay. That indicates his naivety about how he was being dealt with. He was requested to sign off donations for other individuals and he did so and they [allegedly] obtained an advantage for that.
"But his lack of knowledge meant he didn't understand exactly what he was doing."
Pim, who is a former director of now removed companies Crikey Dick Investments Ltd and Cor Blimey Developments Ltd, supposedly set up the Whitiora Charitable Trust to allow "recent immigrants to get established" and also to protect himself from his ex-wife and others.
"The trust was meant to make life better for people, but he acknowledged that fundamentally he was the charity," the summary of facts states.
Pim used the trust simply to file fake donations to a fake charity - but then received actual tax credits.
Pim filed fake donations in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, receiving $2520 in total.
In 2007 that increased to $21,000. In 2009, Pim took advantage of the increase and dutifully claimed to have made a donation of that size and received a tax credit of $7000.
One of the deposits, $4420, turned out to be rent from his tenant, an immigrant and co-worker of Pim. She said Pim told her to classify her rent payments as a donation to the trust so she could claim refunds each year.
Inland Revenue prosecutor Daniel Phillips responded to O'Brien's submissions stating Pim had issued invoices for amounts of money that he never received and allegedly allowed others to benefit from tax credits as well.
"The defendant went out of his way to register [the trust] with the Charities Commission and he had to take a set number of steps to achieve this."
Judge Simon Menzies said a pre sentence report did Pim no favours. In it, Pim continued to deny any wrongdoing and instead blamed the IRD for what happened.
"You didn't know what you were doing was wrong and felt that you were the victim."
Menzies agreed to take Pim's age - 69 - and previous clean record into account, along with his early guilty plea.
He also accepted O'Brien's push for a sentence of community detention combined with community work.
He said he didn't feel the need make an assessment about whether it was more sinister fraudulence or naivety, as submitted by O'Brien.
After deductions, the judge got down to 17 months' prison. Then he needed to decide whether it was worth Pim going to jail.
"I accept that your clean record is a feature that can be taken into account. Prison is not necessary and [sentencing] can be done by the imposition of other options."
He sentenced Pim to six months' community detention and 80 hours' community work.
The charges included four of knowingly providing false information to enable another person to obtain fraudulent refunds, two representative charges of using a document for pecuniary advantage and three of aiding the dishonest use of a document.
* The former trustees of the trust, two men and one woman, have since appeared in court twice on a number of fraud and tax evasion charges. They have been remanded on bail to reappear at a later date.