COURT

Disabled man ordered to repay $10 a week defrauded from Ministry of Health

Wednesday 15 December 2010, 5:03PM
By Ministry of Health
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CANTERBURY

A disabled man from Canterbury has been sentenced to six months home detention and ordered to repay $5,000 to the Ministry of Health at the rate of $10 a week after forging documents to claim caregiver support payments. The man had earlier pleaded guilty to defrauding the Ministry of Health of $50,000.

The man, who has interim name suppression, dishonestly claimed carer support payments between 2003 and 2009. The man was claiming more than he was paying his caregivers, and forging caregivers' signatures on Care Support claim forms he had provided to the Ministry of Health.

Carer support is a subsidy funded by the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards. The payments are designed to assist the unpaid full time carer of a person with a disability to take a break from caring for that person.

Michael Moore, National Risk Manager of the Audit & Compliance Unit of the Ministry of Health, said this is the second successful fraud prosecution in almost as many days. "It's very, very disappointing to see people again ripping the system off to the detriment of others.

"Offending of this type takes money from families who have a real need for carer support. Fraud will not be tolerated. We do monitor and we do check payments. Where we suspect the misuse of funds, we will investigate and bring offenders to justice.”

If people falsely claim and dishonestly use documents to steal money intended for health and disability services, they will be caught and punished accordingly," Michael Moore said.

Anyone suspecting misuse of health and disability funds should ring the Fraud Hotline on 0800 424 888.