A hospital employee who perpetrated credit card theft from 57 unsuspecting patients and lavishly spent around $28,000 on personal clothing and gadgets has narrowly escaped deportation from New Zealand.
The individual, whose identity remains undisclosed as per a recent judgement from the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, faced conviction and sentencing on nineteen counts of fraud two years prior. Since then, he has ceaselessly contested for the right to reside in the country.
The tribunal’s summary reveals that the man, leveraging his position as a hospital orderly, surreptitiously captured credit information, later used to purchase goods online. He received a sentence of six months community detention by the Wellington District Court in April 2021.
Over ten purchases made with the stolen data exceeded $2000, as the man attempted to make close to $47,000 worth of purchases, yet only $28,000 was permitted. He was directed to reimburse the victims with a total of $2500 in reparations.
Subsequent to his sentencing, he was deemed suitable for deportation. The man, along with his wife, migrated to New Zealand from the Philippines in 2016. He sought permission from the tribunal to remain in the country, arguing that his deportation would lead to severe hardship for him and his family.
He confessed to the tribunal that he hadn’t intended to steal but was tempted by the sight of unattended patient cards, viewing them as a means to send money back to his family in Manila. Despite his claim, he primarily spent the money on personal attire and devices.
Recognizing his flawed judgment, he admitted that his purchases were predominantly sent to his residential address, compelling him to concoct explanations as to their source for his wife.
One should note that he was not the inaugural hospital employee guilty of patient theft. One nurse was previously suspended for taking cash from a patient’s wallet during a cardiac examination. Another instance involved a nurse stealing credit cards from two patients, one undergoing surgery and another deceased.
During his presentation of evidence to the tribunal, the man revealed that he served as the main caretaker for his young daughter. If deported back to the Philippines, his wife would choose not to accompany him.
In opposition to his appeal to remain, immigration minister’s counsel argued that family hardship is an expected fallout of deportation. They indicated several possibilities concerning childcare for their daughter and maintaining long-distance relationships.
The man’s fraudulent and severe offences were also cited, highlighting the violation of trust towards vulnerable, ill hospital patients. The counsel criticized the man’s motivations and conspicuous absence of financial strain. They emphasized public expectation for residents to maintain a certain standard of behavior and pointed out the significant breach of his obligations.
However, the tribunal rejected the counsel’s argument. Judge Martin Treadwell considered there to be exceptional humanitarian complications in the man’s case. He expressed concern over the serious adverse developmental implications for the man’s daughter and used this to justify his decision.
Judge Treadwell asserted that the ruling was not aiming to overlook the severity of the man’s crimes, but rather, given the man’s relatively light sentence, it was deemed against public interest and the welfare of the man and his family to involuntarily deport him to the Philippines.