A Fijian national who made up a story that he arrived in New Zealand as a stowaway after his entire family were massacred by a group of Bangladeshi has been jailed on a representative benefit fraud charge.
Satya Nand was sentenced at the Tauranga District Court today to 29 months' imprisonment after pleading guilty to a representative charge of using false documentation to obtain a benefit.
The court heard that between his arrival in New Zealand on a visitor visa in 1996 and 1998 Nand created a new identity - giving himself the name of Rana Khan - and a refugee story.
He claimed he was born in India and went to Bangladesh when he was one year old and that his family were killed when he was 18.
Nand claimed he was persecuted, beaten up and stabbed at the refugee camp in Bangladesh so stowed away on a ship to Hong Kong and eventually New Zealand.
Immigration New Zealand Assistant General Manager, Peter Devoy, says the entire story was a fabrication.
"The defendant had never been to either India or Bangladesh and in fact was in Fiji and New Zealand for the entire time," Mr Devoy said.
But he managed to obtain New Zealand residence and subsequently citizenship after creating for himself a new identity, obtaining identity documents in his false name, completing statutory declarations about his background and using documentation to obtain benefits for himself, his wife and three children, Mr Devoy said.
"Nand came up with an elaborate story to fulfil his dream of living in New Zealand. His fraudulent behaviour was despicable, particularly in view of the experiences and suffering many genuine refugees experience," he said.
"He was ultimately caught as a result of painstaking investigative work by our compliance officers who managed to locate him under his true Fijian identity and then uncovered his fraud and false identity."
The judge commented how serious this offence was.
Mr Devoy said today's sentence shows such behaviour will not be tolerated and acts as a strong deterrent.