A Zimbabwean woman who lied about her country of birth so she could get a bursary to study as a mental health nurse, has been spared jailed by a judge today.
Rudo Moyo-Dhewa, 42, living in Hillcreast Road in Yeovil had previously admitted two charges of fraud, said to have taken place in 2010 and 2012.
Prosecuting, Harry Ahuja told Taunton Crown Court she had claimed to be a British Citizen when applying for a bursary to study at the University of the West of England. She supported her application with a forged British birth certificate and British Driving License.
In actuality, she had been born in Zimbabwe, and moved to the UK around 15 years ago.
“She was applying for a three year course at the university and was granted a bursary from the NHS of £17,564,” he said.
“In 2012, when the Department of Work and Pensions looked through records of the bursary scheme, they realised she was using a false National Insurance number.”
He added that she had first come to the UK in 2003, and was granted indefinite leave to stay in the country in October 2012.
“She knew from the outset she didn’t meet the bursary scheme’s requirements,” he said. “When she was interviewed at Yeovil Police Station, she admitted the documents she had submitted were fraudulent, but claimed she had been confused when filling in the paperwork and a man had helped her with it, and provided her with the forged documents.
“She said she was sorry for what she’d done and wasn’t proud of it.”
Joseph Wright, defending, said it was an unusual case coming before the court.
“So often in cases of fraud we see people who have committed fraud out of sheer greed,” he said. “In this case it is a woman in her forties who wanted to get a qualification and help people with mental health problems.
“She was seeking to better herself, she wanted to get her degree and work within the NHS to help people who needed it.
“She did indeed go on and got her degree. She was naive and there was a level of ‘self-denial’.
“She concedes that what she did was lie, even if her aim was entirely laudable. If she would just have waited nine months, when all the criteria was genuinely in place, she would not be here today.”
Sentencing her, Judge Paul Cook said it was clear she was ‘extremely regretful’ about her actions.
“You did not do this for greed, but you wanted a qualification, and you wanted to put it to good use,” he said.
He sentenced her to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, 40 days of rehabilitation activities, 150 hours of unpaid work and she will have to pay a £140 victim surcharge.-Somersetlive