Credit cards

Nurse stole credit cards from patients as ‘debts continued to pile up’

By Ellen Thompson, Open Justice Multimedia Reporter from

A nurse who stole the credit cards of his patients, including one who was in surgery and another who died, says he was acting out of desperation.

NFC technology, the customer makes payment by contactless credit card.  The credit card reader implements payment execution, in the store

Photo: 123rf

Marvel Clavecilla told a medical court today that he stole from patients in order to support his own family.

“We had moved to New Zealand from the Philippines for a better life, I was ashamed that I couldn’t afford our new life alone.”

Clavecilla first stole a credit card from a patient in March 2020. He made 19 transactions over nine days, then threw the card in the trash.

However, he says he stopped using the card because he felt guilty.

“I put the card in the trash so I didn’t use it anymore.”

A month later, he stole another credit card, this time taking it from the patient while she was in surgery.

Over a six-day period, he used another patient’s credit card 13 times at supermarkets, petrol stations, fast food outlets and at The Warehouse.

Clavecilla was found guilty of 32 counts of dishonesty and was sentenced to six months in community custody and 150 hours of community service after appearing in Blenheim District Court in 2020.

Because of his conviction, he is now at risk of deportation.

Today, he was also suspended from practice for nine months following a hearing in the Health Professionals Disciplinary Tribunal.

Attorney Matthew McClelland, representing the Professional Conduct Committee, said an act like Clavecilla’s brings the nursing profession into disrepute.

“The public must be able to trust health professionals,” he said.

Tribunal member Chris Taua asked Clavecilla why he decided to take the second credit card after throwing away the first.

He responded by saying the opportunity was there and without thinking he took the second card.

McClelland referred to the judgment delivered by Judge Richard Russell during the criminal hearing in 2020.

“The judge concluded that your offense was premeditated, but you are telling us that it was not premeditated and that you acted in extreme desperation?

“How do we know that when you are again faced with difficult financial situations, you will not be the victim of theft?” McClelland said.

“I learned my lesson and I would never do anything like this again,” he said.

“My financial situation was deteriorating, the debts kept piling up and I could only pay them on time.”

The court denied a request from the practitioner for the permanent deletion of the name.

Clavecilla must disclose the Tribunal’s decision and undertake supervision for 18 months if he returns to nursing after his suspension ends.

* This story originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald