A maths teacher who used her daughter’s fingerprints to try to conceal her criminal past has been banned from the classroom for life.
Samantha Burmis, 46, embarked on an elaborate plot to hide a mortgage fraud conviction – and resulting prison sentence – after she won an unfair dismissal claim against a school.
She had hoped to make £1.2million following the tribunal in 2007, but was awarded only £21,788 because she had failed to declare the 1995 conviction when applying for jobs.
Burmis denied she was the same woman who had been jailed for the offence, before enlisting her daughter Nina to provide fingerprints for her.
However, Burmis’s plot was exposed because her 25-year-old daughter’s prints were already on file after she was convicted of forging a cheque to pay for a £3,200 breast enlargement.
As a result, Burmis was jailed for two years for fraud and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice at Maidstone Crown Court last year. Her daughter was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, for her role in the scam.
Burmis, also known as Samantha Virgo, has now been banned from working as a teacher for life after a National College for Teaching and Leadership hearing in Coventry.
Professional Conduct Panel chairman Ruth Winterson said a lifetime ban was appropriate considering the seriousness of Burmis’s latest conviction. ‘The panel noted that the serious dishonesty involved in committing the offences could have had an impact on the safety or security of pupils and members of the public,’ she said.
‘The panel has also taken account of how the teaching profession is viewed by others. The panel considered that Ms Virgo’s behaviour in committing the offences could affect the public confidence in the teaching profession given the influence that teachers may have on pupils, parents and others in the community.
‘The panel has noted that Ms Virgo’s behaviour ultimately led to her receiving a sentence of imprisonment which is indicative of the seriousness of the offences committed.’
Burmis is prohibited from teaching at any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.
The NCTL panel heard that Burmis was jailed for two years in 1995 after she was convicted of a £90,000 mortgage fraud at Harrow Crown Court.
After serving a year of the sentence, she studied law at the University of Kent, before training to be a teacher.
When she applied for a post at Aylesford School in Kent in 2001, she failed to declare the conviction. She was sacked from the school in 2005.
Burmis then went on to work at two other schools in Kent, Homewood School in Tenterden and Swadelands School in Lenham, where she also failed to declare her criminal past.
She later made a successful unfair dismissal claim against Aylesford School, but she received a smaller payout than she had hoped because she had failed to declare her fraud conviction when applying for jobs.
She then went to Kent Police to claim she had been wrongly identified as the person with the 1995 fraud conviction.
When an independent expert arrived at her home to take her prints so they could be verified, her daughter answered with her face concealed. She offered her mother’s driving licence and gave her own fingerprints.
However, Kent Police already had her prints on file.
The mother and daughter were found guilty by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court.
Burmis was convicted of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception in relation to money earned through teaching, and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Nina Burmis was convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.