Caregiver steals card from elderly Alzheimer's sufferer, spends $3000

Maria Tokona, 31, was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court on Friday.

Maria Tokona, 31, was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court on Friday.

A caregiver who stole eftpos and payWave​ cards from her elderly patients used the cards to fund her gambling addiction.

Maria Georgina Tokona, 31, appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Friday on a raft of charges, including using a document for pecuniary advantage and theft.

Tokona - who is also named on court documents as Maria Tokana - was employed by Healthcare New Zealand Community Health in July and August last year as a carer for a Hamilton woman with severe Alzheimer's when she took the woman's ASB eftpos card for her own use.

She used the card on nine occasions, chalking up a $3000 spending bill.

Subsequently, while she was employed as a home help at another Hamilton residence in September last year, Tokona swiped an ANZ payWave card that she spent $346.64 on in 13 transactions.

Judge Denise Clark took note of Tokona's early guilty plea and offer of reparation before sentencing her to five months of community detention and 12 months of intensive supervision.

"This is the first time you have come before the court, but you have come before the court with a raft of offending," the judge said.

"You have a gambling issue that you need to get on top of ... It's simply not okay to behave like this."

A restorative justice conference was not able to be held.

Tokona also has to make repayments to the two banks at a rate of no less than $20 per week each and take part in a gambling intervention programme as part of her intensive supervision.

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Managers at Healthcare New Zealand's Hamilton office were not available to respond to inquiries on Friday.

 - Stuff

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