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Auckland woman owes Government $188,000 after lying about relationship

NewsHub:

An Auckland woman who lied about having a partner to make ends meet says the Government penalties for benefit fraud are far too harsh.

Anti-poverty groups are pleading with the Prime Minister to end what they say are “unjust” rules around relationships in the welfare system.

But for Agnes Magele the campaign comes far too late

At 19 years-old Magele was out of a job, seven months pregnant with her second child and behind bars for benefit fraud.

“No one should have to be in that situation, to be honest, because I had got myself far deep in it as well, nobody knew,” she told Newshub.

She was in a relationship that provided no financial support, so she lied to Work and Income saying she was a solo parent living by herself to access more benefits and make ends meet.

Agnes spent 18 months behind bars – now 18 years later, she still owes the Government $188,000.

“I knew there was gonna be consequences, but I didn’t think it was gonna be that harsh,” she said.

“It changed me, it changed me massively.”

Beneficiaries’ weekly payments can be slashed by hundreds of dollars if they’re considered to be in a relationship.

Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP) and eleven other groups have penned a letter to Jacinda Arden, insisting the rules are harmful.

“Nobody should lose their financial independence because of who they’re in a relationship with or who the Ministry considers they’re in a relationship with. That just leads to dynamics of financial abuse,” said  AAAP coordinator Ricardo Menendez March.

Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni says a review of relationship settings is part of a wider overhaul of the welfare system.

But it’s not in the short term plan of work.

Despite the open letter, the Government is giving no commitment to changing the rules.

FFS, since when is bludging off the taxpayer for 18 years “financial independence”. What these people forget is that their actions have consequences

25 COMMENTS

  1. “Nobody should lose their financial independence because of who they’re in a relationship with or who the Ministry considers they’re in a relationship with.”

    It is not “financial independence” to be living off the taxpayer. If you are not entitled to the benefit it is theft.

    16

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    • Yes yes and yes. Why do these people think they are living independently when they are state funded? And having a second child for F..k sake at the age of 19. On the road to nowhere

      12

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      • And in a relationship that provided no financial support……why then should the taxpayer provide support if the irresponsible produce children without the resources to handle the costs.

        OK, we are expected to provide a hand up…. but this taxpayer is not willing to support irresponsible and ongoing life styles of others.

        5

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  2. Here’s an idea:
    If the PoS you’re shacked up with contributes nothing to the household and pays nothing to support his children – get a better shag.

    13

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  3. I can understand the concept of when is a few dates become a relationship.
    But that is not excuse for ripping us off for 18 years.
    Financial Independence means working and saving for your self.

    8

    0

  4. The sooner we get rid of the dpb the better off we will all be.
    less bludgers
    less ferals
    less crime
    Lower taxes
    Make people look after their own children or adopt them out (if anyone will have them)
    Let their wider family pay for them
    Ad then people will make better choices.
    Then people can give money to charidies if they wish.
    We need to give girls (sic) the message that having a child is not a career.

    10

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    • I can recall thinking when the DPB was introduced in 1973 that it was a bloody good idea. There wasn’t exactly a shortage of women & kids living miserable lives as the property of violent drunks & the benefit gave them a way out.

      I never dreamt that it would become a breeding platform for those without the ability to form working relationships with men.

      12

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      • In part I agree Nasska, but I do recall the freedom that occurred,
        Benefit & State Houses for woman & children, all on other people’s money.
        The number of girls having children just a few years after leaving school, shacking up, with no commitment.

        The sperm donors did not have to run off to Australia, if they did not want to just contribute to the child’s upkeep.
        Earlier some of those “sperm donors” paid the girl, for the trip across to Australia, for termination.

        Violence in itself, is much more recognized, but the way it is used, is often for a different agenda, instead of addressing those problems that were in those families and leading them to change.
        On the violence issue, the extended family should have been helping to sort out those “violent” marriages but I guess part of culture?
        After all they were often enough a part of “shot gun” marriages.

        But no “Big Norm’s” Labour Government had to poke their nose in, with other peoples money, to get more voters for the future, in the name of “kindness & wellness”, which brings with it;-
        No accountability, and no responsibility in the land of Utopia.

        7

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    • A beneficiary taking out a loan, defaulted on it and the judge ordered them to pay 53c per week. It would be paid off around 2200 somewhere.

      8

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  5. How has it changed her massively?
    Is she now a nurse?
    Or a paramedic?

    How many children has she got now
    How many pardners has she had since?
    Has she ever had a job

    How does she feel taking tax money fro others that work every day

    8

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    • That is for the full ‘childhood’ of the eldest child, So she was with the father of the pregnancy up until now? Was he on a benefit as well?

      9

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      • Is she pissed because the benie cut in half as elderst reached 18yrs old and she had to reapply for another beniet and got caught out?

        6

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  6. While we condemn this, Meritai would applaud. That knob from Action Against Poverty would want more money for her. We can see the sense of this, but there are far too many bleeding hearts who would cave to this sob story

    9

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  7. Piss poor journalism as the $188,000 dollar “clickbait” sensational figure has no details, and not really explained.

    Sure she was sentenced to 18 months jail, but being pregnant, and already with a small kiddy, so how much time did she actually serve?

    How did it get to $188,000 in such a short period of time to a teenager.
    If that was the flow of money to that solo mum, I would think that the Department is culpable as well. 🙁

    More than likely, the initial amount of money, was asked to be paid back.
    That demand was ignored. No arrangements were made by that solo mum.
    Just interest rates alone over 19 years, even at a low level, and accumulating,

    After all IRD were quick to apply 10% penalty rates, plus 2% monthly and all accumulating on any taxpayer, that they felt had not paid the full amount of taxes, and that is from the time, when they figure any so called short fall.

    This article is serving an agenda, to lead to a Universal Benefit/Wage concept.

    8

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    • No she was not already pregnant. She got pregnant because of the charges.

      Go sit in on a sentencing list in any court and you will a whole string of – suddenly pregnant –
      female criminals.

      Getting knocked up and playing the victim is Getting Off: 101

      1

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  8. Great balls of fire.
    Put the fox in charge of the henhouse.

    Hell, henhouse actually sounds apt.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/67565730/carmel-sepulonis-mother-sentenced-for-benefit-fraud
    Beverley Anne Sepuloni failed to tell the Ministry of Social Development she was living with her partner Michael Charles Rangi between 2003 and 2014 while claiming benefits and subsidies she was not entitled to.

    She was overpaid $33,856 during the 11 years. [11 years a fraudster. Plus whatever she ripped off]
    Sygrove sentenced Sepuloni to four and a half months home detention, 250 hours of community work and ordered to pay $15,000 reparation at $20 a week.

    Rangi, [the boyfriend] who was overpaid $62,351.21 in unemployment benefits and accommodation supplements, earlier pleaded guilty to four charges, one of obtaining by deception and three of using a document for pecuniary advantage.
    He was sentenced to six months home detention, 200 hours of community work and ordered to pay $15,000 reparation at $20 a week.

    there is NO disincentive to be a criminal and fraudster
    Rip off 33k or 63k and pay back 15k at $20 a week from your benefit.
    That is bloody profitable.
    So even if you get caught you pay back less than you stole ..OOOH and the big clanger – you get your name in the paper- gangsta fame bro.
    These crims would love that-
    …. and Crims they are

    The real corruption is where NZ is at on the corruption index –WAAAY higher than stated.

    …and now Carmel Sepuloni is in charge of this.
    One would guess she is a beneficiary – a beneficiary of her mothers dishonesty.
    This conviction was for what was proven in court. What else happened?
    The mother did not start her crime spree at 48 years of age !

    7

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  9. I am clear in that I expect the rules to be followed. I do not want any relaxation given I resent every tax dollar that is taken from me and my family by legal force. I do expect defence for the country and a Police Force that responds to protect the community from crime by apprehending offenders (the current disarming of the population is a gross error by Police and government). I’ ll go along with a beneficiary hand up but I do not support the current drain that the welfare system has grown to represent.

    6

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  10. The government hires whores to farm babies for votes and promote extreme feminist doctrine, that teaches traditional family is oppressive to women.

    You can dress it up any way you like, but that is the essence of it.

    3

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