Published by: Amy Wiggins, NZME
Rotorua nurse convicted of money-laundering has registration cancelled
A Rotorua nurse convicted of laundering more than $300,000 of drug money has had her registration cancelled.
The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal last month made the decision to cancel Linda Olive Aldworth’s registration as a nurse on the basis of her criminal conviction.
Aldworth was convicted of money laundering in October 2016 and was sentenced to 10.5 months home detention. Her Rotorua home and other assets were seized by police under the proceeds of crime act.
The grandmother, who had been a nurse since 1974, was arrested at the conclusion of Operation Gandolf which targeted the activities of an organised criminal group which imported and distributed methamphetamine throughout New Zealand.
Her husband, Mohamed Atta who was already in Rimutaka prison serving an unrelated sentence, was the ringleader of the group and organised to import drugs from a supplier in Thailand.
Atta used cellphones smuggled in to prison to arrange the sale and charged a commission of $5000 per 100g of methamphetamine imported.
Aldworth then received the money on behalf of her husband and distributed it to associates in New Zealand and family overseas. She also spent a significant amount buying a $24,000 car, a spa pool and a lounge suite.
Over about 18 months she received more than $340,000 from unidentified sources – more than $3600 a week above her legitimate income – and operated 12 bank accounts, two of which were in her grandchildren’s names.
She transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to family and associates in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and throughout New Zealand. Among those payments were 113 transactions worth $13,000 to 61 prisoners as well as payments to a Rimutaka prison guard who had been corrupted by Atta.
She admitted distributing money for Atta when interviewed by police and pleaded guilty to the money laundering charge.