Home detention is the likely punishment for a Whanganui man who committed benefit fraud to the tune of $19,000.

Allister Leo Joines pleaded guilty to seven counts of using a document for pecuniary advantage when he appeared in the Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.

Judge Philip Crayton said Joines received four different benefits between 2009 and 2015.

"You, like anyone who seeks a benefit, must inform the authorities when your circumstances change. You became involved in a relationship which was permanent and which, if declared, would have changed your benefit entitlement.


"As a consequence of your non-declaration you received an over-payment of $29,000. However, as you were entitled to some of that, the total amount of your fraud was $19,000."

In giving his sentence indication, Judge Crayton said the starting point for such an offence was six months' jail. He said Joines' offending was "low- to mid-level "in terms of money taken, and gave Joines credit for his early guilty plea.

But he said the offending was "prolonged". "This has an element of pre-meditation which can't be ignored."

Judge Crayton said the Ministry of Social Development had indicated a sentence of home detention would be appropriate.

He told Joines three months' home detention sentence, plus community work, would be the most likely sentence.

Joines will reappear for sentence on February 10.