…By Alan Peterson for TDPel Media.
A physical education (PE) teacher has been prohibited from teaching after engaging in an insurance scam in an attempt to fraudulently claim £50,000.
Dipti Patel, who was employed at Manchester Academy in Moss Side at the time, reported a staged burglary to her insurance company to facilitate the fraudulent claim.
The Conviction and Sentencing:
In September 2020, Patel was convicted at St Albans Crown Court for her involvement in the insurance scam.
She received a nine-month suspended prison sentence, along with a requirement to complete 120 hours of unpaid work and 10 days of rehabilitation activity.
Although she pleaded guilty to the crime, claiming ignorance of the staged burglary, she admitted to “exaggerating the claim,” expressing remorse for her actions.
Failure to Disclose Information:
Patel aggravated her situation by withholding crucial information from the school.
Despite informing the school about her guilty plea, she acted dishonestly by concealing the full extent of the criminal charges against her.
She failed to disclose her true reason for taking leave, falsely claiming it was for her child’s medical appointment.
Moreover, she neglected to inform the school about being interviewed under police caution in October 2019 and her appearance in a magistrates’ court in August 2020.
When signing annual safeguarding documents, she deliberately omitted disclosing her criminal charges, leading to her suspension from Manchester Academy.
The Teaching Regulation Agency Report:
According to a report from the Teaching Regulation Agency, Patel demonstrated consistent dishonesty throughout the ordeal.
She provided deceptive information about the burglary to the insurance company, its investigators, and the police.
The report stated that her actions were premeditated and occurred repeatedly.
Furthermore, Patel’s culpability was exacerbated by her ongoing dishonesty in concealing this information from the school until the last possible moment.
The report concluded that her actions fell within the higher range of dishonesty.
Consequences and Employment History:
The panel ruling emphasized that any ordinary person would view Patel’s actions as dishonest.
Her failure to inform her employer was primarily motivated by her desire to conceal any knowledge of a potential conviction, her shame, and her concerns about losing her job and ability to support her family.
Prior to working at Manchester Academy, Patel had a ten-year tenure at a London school but decided to relocate to Bolton due to personal family issues related to an armed robbery at their previous residence.
Notably, the fraudulent claim was associated with the same address.
Prohibition and Potential Review:
Following her conviction, Patel is banned from teaching indefinitely.
She can apply for a review of the prohibition order, but not before May 23, 2025, at the earliest.
However, the review is not guaranteed, and a panel will assess whether the prohibition order should be lifted.
Unless her application is successful, Mrs. Patel will remain barred from teaching.
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