A former Hamilton midwife has received a prison sentence of 2 years and 4 months for defrauding the Ministry of Health of more than $350,000.
Pania Lee Nin was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court on Monday 21 November after earlier pleading guilty to two charges of obtaining by deception.
Nin’s offending was identified earlier this year during a Ministry of Health audit of claims submitted for maternity services.
It came to light that the 43 year old was claiming payments for maternity services when she did not have a current Annual Practising Certificate to operate as a midwife, and had also been claiming New Zealand payments while registered and working in Australia.
An investigation of all of Nin’s claims for maternity and home birthing services revealed that between January 2008 and January 2016 she had been paid for services for 5 mothers and 120 babies who do not exist.
Nin admitted setting up false National Health Index (NHI) numbers for the non-existent mothers and babies. She said she didn’t know why she had made the claims, and had spent the money on living costs.
The Ministry of Health’s Director of Protection, Regulation and Assurance, Dr Stewart Jessamine says ‘In addition to the $357,139 fraudulently obtained from the Ministry, there were a number of women who were also victims of this crime.
‘Those who made victim impact statements said they were shocked, angry and disappointed that Pania Nin – who was in a position of trust – had used their names in order to falsely claim for maternity services payments.
‘The Ministry has taken a number of steps to improve its processes following this investigation. These include changing the process by which births are registered by phone, revising the “application to claim” form, and working with the Midwifery Council on better systems to identify when an Annual Practising Certificate has lapsed.’