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Guilty of $86,000 benefit fraud

PHOTO/FILE

A 39-year-old Masterton beneficiary and mother of four pleaded guilty to six charges of benefit fraud totalling more than $86,000 at the Masterton District Court on Monday

Represented by defence counsel Ian Hard, Tereza Rose Hardgrave appeared before Judge Barbara Morris, facing five charges of using a document to obtain pecuniary advantage and one of obtaining by deception.

In 2009, Hardgrave applied for a domestic purposes benefit for sole parents, a condition of which was that she notify the Ministry of Social Development of any changes to her situation, including her relationship status.

She failed to notify MSD after entering a de facto relationship with a Featherston man in 2010 and continued to claim the sole parents benefit until 2015.

Representing MSD, Tom Wheeler estimated she had received $78,000 in overpayments during that time, nearly double the $35,451.46 she was eligible for.

Judge Morris said Hardgrave’s early guilty pleas would serve her well during sentencing.

Hardgrave was remanded on bail and is due to appear in court later next month for sentencing after a probation report.

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