A former Hamilton midwife has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for defrauding the Ministry of Health of $350,000.
Pania Lee Nin was sentenced to two years and four months when she appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Monday after earlier pleading guilty to two charges of obtaining by deception.
The midwife's offending was discovered during a Ministry of Health audit of claims submitted for maternity services.
An investigation of Nin's claims for maternity and home birthing services revealed that between January 2008 and January this year, she had been paid for services for five mothers and 120 babies who do not exist.
The 43-year-old was also 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.
Nin admitted setting up false National Health Index 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's director of protection, regulation and assurance Dr Stewart Jessamine said in addition to the $357,139 fraudulently obtained from the Ministry, a number of women were also victims of her 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 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."