If MSD assesses there is no overpayment and as such no debt to the Crown then the only thing she did wrong was failing to declare. While technically a breach of the SSA from my experience I doubt MSD would take legal action solely for that. If they assess there is an overpayment and a debt is due the crown then there are options open to them, They could write the debt off but I doubt her current financial circumstances would meet the criteria for that. Seek to only recover the debt. Increase the debt as a means of punishment, this can be three times the assessed debt. Take a case to the Crown solicitor to look at possible prosecution.
In the context of recent prosecutions for historic benefit fraud, it would IMO give the appearance of "special treatment" if the MSD decided not to prosecute. (If their investigation findings align with Turei's own admissions)
In her own words (or those of her husband) Metiria has admitted:
- Refusing to name the father (despite the father being known)
- Accepting support from the father (presumably undeclared)
- Accepting support from the paternal grandmother (presumably undeclared)
- Accepting support from the maternal grandparents (presumably undeclared)
- Accepting income from flatmates (presumably undeclared)
- Accepting the DBP while in a relationship (presumably undeclared)
...all in a pre-meditated, deliberate and sustained fashion over many years.
Now it may eventuate that these are unsubstantiated fabrications made up to sell women's magazines and score political points, but they have created a widespread impression that a significant white-collar crime has been confessed to, and hence any decision to NOT prosecute would need to be accompanied by a level of justification. If they issue a "nothing to see here - move along" decision, public perception will be that it was a cover-up.