1 May 2012

Couple accused of huge WINZ fraud

6:03 am on 1 May 2012

A Work and Income case manager and his wife have been arrested and accused of committing the second largest internal fraud in the Ministry of Social Development's history.

The couple were arrested in March and together face 11 charges relating to the theft of $210,000 during a seven year period.

The man, 43, who is applying for permanent name suppression, worked as a case manager at Work and Income's New Lynn branch, in West Auckland.

He and his 39-year-old wife each face five charges of obtaining a pecuniary advantage through WINZ benefits in family members' names, while the man is also is accused of causing the Ministry financial loss through accessing its computer systems.

The charges date from 2004 through to March of this year.

Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle says an alert system picked up the discrepancies, and it is still investigating the matter.

Mr Boyle says the ministry's biggest internal fraud involved the theft of $1.9 million by an employee in 2004.

The couple are on bail and will reappear in court in August.