Moonlighting midwife Samantha Thomas guilty of fraud
A midwife has been found guilty of fraud after cheating the NHS out of hundreds of pounds while moonlighting in two other jobs.
Samantha Thomas, 49, from Newport, was given a one year community order, told to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay £2,000 compensation.
Abergavenny Magistrates heard she worked in a care home and lectured at Cardiff University while also on call.
Thomas said she had been under pressure and did not set out to be dishonest.
The mother of two, who now works in London, was found guilty of four charges, including false representation by claiming she was on call while working elsewhere.
She denied seven charges of fraud, blaming the "traumatic" breakdown of her marriage and incidents of domestic violence for making the false claims.
Some days she worked as a midwife in the morning, lectured at Cardiff University in the afternoon and then did a shift at the care home at night.
Judge David Parsons told her the "tragedy of this case is the loss of your good reputation".'Expensive divorce'
The Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said Thomas had "let herself down".
The court was told Thomas had delivered more than 1,000 babies over 30 years in south Wales and lectured at Cardiff University on midwifery.
Health chiefs regarded her, the court heard, as "highly professional" and she was nominated for a midwife of the year award.
But Thomas went through a "messy and expensive" divorce and started moonlighting in a care home for dementia patients as well as her lecturing and NHS work.
Thomas worked shifts at the care home while she was being paid by the NHS to be on call as a community midwife.
She began altering time sheets and adjusted her mileage expenses to cover up for her double work life.
The court was told Thomas worked more than 70 hours-a-week as a midwife, a care worker and as a university lecturer.
Nicholas Rooke, prosecuting, asked her: "You were doing 12-hour shifts at a nursing home and on call all night as a midwife while bringing up two teenage children.
"How were you able to keep it going?
Thomas replied: "I wasn't able to. It was incredibly hard and very difficult to sustain.
"But there was never an occasion when I did not maintain my on-call duties and there was never an occasion when I did not attend a home birth.
"At no time did I set out to make any money unlawfully against the NHS."
She went on: "I don't deny I was balancing and juggling my work at the board, at the nursing home and at the university.
End Quote Judge David Parsons
You were a well-respected, valued and industrious midwife who made a very substantial contribution to your community”
"But I assure you that at no time did I set out to be dishonest.
"I have worked in the NHS since I was 19 years of age. I would not jeopardise that.
"It was related to a very difficult time for me, I was struggling financially while going through a divorce."
Thomas was paid more than £3,500 by the NHS when she was working elsewhere.
She also falsely claimed £285 from the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board for 1,909 miles on bogus house calls to see pregnant women.
Judge David Parsons told her: "You can't be in two places at once.
"There were times when you took advantage to reduce your commitment to the board to give your time to work in your other employment."
Thomas fought back tears as Judge Parsons told her: "The tragedy of this case is the loss of your good reputation.
"You were a well-respected, valued and industrious midwife who made a very substantial contribution to your community."
He said she was under "enormous and escalating personal stress" and it was "unnecessary" to imprison her.
Thomas will pay off the compensation at a rate of £100 a month.
A spokesman for the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: "Thomas was a community midwife in whom her employers placed a high degree of trust and she abused that position of trust."