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Health and Disability Fraud Punished

Health and Disability Fraud Punished

A 47 year old Mangere woman Kelei Ataata has been sentenced to six months community detention and reparations of $18,950 for dishonesty offences related to the care claimed for a disabled family member.

Mrs Ataata pleaded guilty in the Manukau District Court this week and her sentence included 12 months supervision, community work and budgeting counselling. The reparations are to be repaid at $50 per week.

Two others who have been charged in related offences still have their cases before the courts.

Mrs Ataata was party to actions to defraud the health system of $21,250 by dishoneslty claiming carer support payments.

Mrs Ataata had been party to claims for carer support payments for her daughter since 2005 when that care was subsequently found not to have been provided.

In September 2009 the payments were investigated by the Ministry of Health after anomalies with the claims were detected.

Carer support is a subsidy funded by the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards. The payments are designed to assist the unpaid full time carer of a person with a disability to take a break from caring for that person.

Michael Moore, National Risk Manager of the Audit & Compliance Unit of the Ministry of Health, said this is the second successful fraud prosecution in almost as many days. "It's very, very disappointing to see people again ripping the system off to the detriment of others.

"Offending of this type takes money from families who have a real need for carer support. “Fraud will not be tolerated.

"We do monitor and we do check payments. Where we suspect the misuse of funds, we will investigate and bring offenders to justice.”

If people falsely claim and dishonestly use documents to steal money intended for health and disability services, they will be caught and punished accordingly," Michael Moore said.

ENDS

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