A Masterton man who fraudulently claimed more than $11,000 has been sentenced to community detention.

Daryll Edward Skinner, 44, appeared in Masterton District Court earlier this week for sentence, having pleaded guilty at an earleir appearance to three charges of using a document dishonestly. The maximum penalty for this type of offending is seven years' imprisonment.

The court heard how, in January 2010 Skinner applied for the unemployment benefit stating on his application that he was single when he was actually in a marriage-like relationship and was living with his partner.

As a result of falsely submitted forms Skinner received an overpayment of $11,944.33 over two-and-a-half years.

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The Ministry of Social Development is not seeking reparation but will use its recovery powers to reclaim the money.

Defence lawyer Ian Hard said Skinner was a useful member of society in many ways and was a hard worker. Judge Bill Hastings said Skinner's offending had made every taxpayer in New Zealand a victim.

"All of us have to pay for the money that you have taken from the system that relies on honesty and trust.

"You have cast a stigma, by your offending, on beneficiaries who deserve benefits and who are trustworthy and honest when they claim them."

Judge Hastings sentenced Skinner to four months' community detention, with a curfew of 7pm to 5am, seven days a week.