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Home detention for man who worked while claiming ACC

28 November 2013

Home detention for immigration consultant who worked while claiming ACC

Romney Lavea, aged 45, of Onehunga, Auckland, was sentenced to eight months’ home detention in the Manukau District Court today for defrauding ACC.

Lavea pleaded guilty to three representative charges of using a document under the Crimes Act; four charges of making a false statement under the ACC Act, and one charge of making a false declaration under the Crimes Act.

He was also ordered by Judge Treston to pay full reparation of $37,244.14, this being the totally amount of weekly compensation fraudulently obtained.

Lavea was paid the weekly compensation between October 1998 and April 2011, on the basis that he was fully unfit to work after he fractured his arm and hip in a motor vehicle accident.

An ACC investigation subsequently revealed that Lavea worked as an immigration consultant for much of this period, travelling extensively between Samoa and New Zealand and submitting 1,080 visa and permit applications to Immigration New Zealand.

Throughout his offending, Lavea provided ACC with a number of declarations stating that he was not receiving any income, and was aware of his responsibilities to tell ACC if he resumed work.

During sentencing, Judge Treston noted Lavea’s lack of remorse for his offending.

ACC’s General Manager of Claims Management, Sid Miller, says “Kiwis pay levies to ACC to help people in genuine need of injury-related support, so it’s disappointing when people deliberately abuse the Scheme.

“ACC has an Investigations Unit which follows up all information that suggests possible fraudulent activity, and takes appropriate action when criminal offending is identified.”

ENDS

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