The court heard that Preston was introduced to the “social welfare lifestyle” in 2001, when she was just 16.
Judge David Ruth said she has been on the “benefit treadmill” since then.
Preston’s offending included forging letters purporting to be from a landlord and Walker’s mother to obtain benefits, knowing that the information was false.
She also received a new $600 fridge freezer from the ministry after saying hers was broken. She advertised the new fridge for sale for $780 through an online trading site on the same day.
Preston also started a job at a fast food outlet while receiving benefit payments.
She was convicted of three charges of obtaining by deception, three of forgery, and 21 of using a document for monetary gain.
A ministry investigation found that Preston and Walker had been living together “in the nature of marriage” throughout the offending, while both submitted documents stating they were single.
Walker also continued receiving a benefit while working. He also received sole parent assistance while living with Preston and benefited from her fraud.
Hey the Government gives me money for nothing. I want more and more of it.