Midwife jailed for defrauding Health Ministry of $350k


A former Hamilton midwife has jailed for defrauding the Ministry of Health of more than $350,000.

Pania Lee Nin was sentenced to two years and four months in prison at the Hamilton District Court after earlier pleading guilty to two charges of obtaining by deception.

Her offending was identified during a Ministry of Health audit earlier this year.

An investigation showed that between January 2008 and January 2016 she had been paid for services for five mothers and 120 babies who do not exist.

It revealed 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.

In total, she defrauded the Ministry of Health of $357,139.

Nin admitted setting up false National Health Index numbers for the non-existent mothers and babies and said she had spent the money on living costs.

"The Ministry has taken a number of steps to improve its processes following this investigation," Ministry of Health director of protection, regulation and assurance Dr Stewart Jessamine says.

"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."