Patrice Dougan is the Herald's education reporter.

Teacher falsely claimed $13k in benefits

Evelyn Grace Temamaero Toki claimed she was not receiving any income and hid her employment from officials, in order to claim the sum. Photo / 123rf.com
Evelyn Grace Temamaero Toki claimed she was not receiving any income and hid her employment from officials, in order to claim the sum. Photo / 123rf.com

A teacher lied about not having a job to claim more than $13,000 in benefits.

Evelyn Grace Temamaero Toki claimed she was not receiving any income and hid her employment from officials, in order to claim the sum.

She was convicted of two counts of providing misleading information about her income to obtain a benefit, and lying to a social welfare officer.

The details of her offending were revealed in a disciplinary decision published by the Education Council.

Between March 2013 and May 2015 she failed to inform social services that she was employed by the Ministry of Education, and on two separate occasions submitted forms claiming she was not receiving any income.

She claimed $13,071.09 in benefits as a result of her false claims.

Toki pleaded guilty to the three charges in November last year, and was sentenced to 150 hours community work and ordered to pay the full amount back as reparation.

Toki claimed that during the period of her offending she had suffered from multiple deaths in her immediate family - including her brother - and the prolonged illness of her mother,

She left her job of eight years at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori a Rohe o Mangere in South Auckland to return to Murupara to care for her ailing husband and ill mother, the tribunal heard.

She was later diagnosed with cancer, and became depressed, struggling under the financial pressure of working limited hours as a relieving teacher.

Toki self-reported her criminal convictions to the Education Council, and was said to have co-operated fully with the investigation process. The teachers' disciplinary tribunal said this showed she had taken responsibility for her actions.

Toki was censured by the tribunal, and ordered to have the decision marked on her registration for one year. She was also ordered to inform any new employer of the decision.

- NZ Herald

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