Commit Fraud for a Friend? I think not.

fraud 2I’m troubled. A friend of mine asked me to lie.  Is it ok to ask a friend to lie?  I mean it’s not a small lie. At least I don’t think it is.  I thinks it’s a humdinger. I think it’s more than a lie.  I think it’s a fraud. I refused, but it has been troubling me.

My friend wants to enrol his child in a school in my district.  He doesn’t live in my district.  He wants me to give my address as his address, his child’s address, so that the child can go to this school.  How can that possibly even work? What about correspondence?  What about friends coming home with her for sleep-overs and homework get togethers and birthday parties and etcetera?  Parents want to see where they are leaving their children.  They will notice if they are driving their kids out of the district.  If they drive out of the district the lie is immediately exposed, so they will have to bring them here, and, naturally, they will want to see. Do I want that kind of intrusion into my life and privacy? And even if I did let them come inside to see, won’t it be clear that no child actually lives here?  How will my friend and his wife ever entertain other parents?  Will I have to leave my house when they entertain parents, so that he and they can pretend that it’s their house? How often?  In fact these questions are ridiculous.  The whole plan stupid and impossible.

What is that saying ‘what a tangled web we weave when first we venture to deceive’.

When the school discovers that this child doesn’t live here, surely they will eject the child from the school.  Then what?  His child will have no school. His reputation in the school district will be shot.  My reputation will be shot for participating in the lie.  How does anyone win in a situation like that? It’s fraudulent. What does it say about our characters?  It says we are fraudsters and liars and that we have no decency. It’s impossible.

How does the child learn integrity knowing that she is in school because of a lie?  How do you teach a child the importance of integrity when the premise under which they are in their institution of learning is a lie?  I can’t get my head around it.  I confess, I am shocked by the request.

His response to my refusal was ‘I’m sorry I asked you.’ But he didn’t sound sorry, he sounded angry with me and I felt that I had let him down, but I also wondered, how do you ask me that?  How do you think of doing that?  How do you think of committing a fraud against the entire school district and by extension the whole department of education, which ends up being a lie to the government?  It’s huge.  Don’t’ you have to provide proof of residence? Isn’t there a FICA situation here?

He says that he is planning to move to my district, but hasn’t yet found the right property.  What if he never finds the right property?  Will the lie then go on for his child’s whole school career?  What if I decide to move?

I’m not comfortable with lies.  I’m not comfortable with dishonesty.  I’m especially not prepared to enter into the realm of fraud.  It’s not who I am.  I don’t have children, so maybe I’m missing something, but it doesn’t seem right.  I’m not comfortable.  I won’t do it.

And if, or when the lie is discovered, what are the ramifications?  Do we get charged?  Why would he want to put me in that situation?   We are friends, yes and I would do many things for him, but the fact that I would do many things shouldn’t include fraud, should it?  There are schools in his district.  Perhaps these schools are not of the same calibre, I don’t know, but how bad can they be?  He said that this is the school his daughter wants to attend.  Will he really become a criminal because his daughter wants this school?  Maybe, if he plans to move into this district, he should wait and when he has moved into this district he can revisit the possibilities.

Am I over reacting?  I don’t think so. Is it less of a big deal than I think it is?  I don’t think so. Do people do this all the time?  Even if they do, is it something that I want to involve myself in?  No! My instinct says no.  My instinct says it is wrong.  I’m going to trust my instinct.  I’m going to trust my integrity.  I hope I don’t lose a friend.


About Tselane Tambo

I share myself in these desultory ramblings. It’s my thoughts and memories; some anecdotes and opinions. It’s an accidental autobiography. When you’ve meandered through these pages you’ll be within reach of a little piece of me. Thank you for dropping by.
This entry was posted in Nocturnal Ramblings of a Mind Unplugged. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Commit Fraud for a Friend? I think not.

  1. Matholoana Letsika says:

    Ms. Tselani Tambo its not a big deal, unfortunately taking a child to a schoolyou think is best is the hardest thing inGauteng, u have to live within the district, now that means all the kids in the township can only go to schools in the township, now this is fraud, how can we be screaming free education when ther r such dispicable obsticles in kids education, if u can afford the dees u shud be allowed to take ur kids to any school as long as u can get them there on time and pick them up on time, its not like your stealling or killing, your merely giving your child what He/She deserves a better education.

    And yes giving someone your address to register their kids works, thats how almost all the kids from the township get into multiracial schools, unless the parents work near the school, and even if u can move 2days after child registerd at the school, the child will still get in, that wont affect the registration, and no the parent dont have to entertain other parent they are not the to make friends, the childs friend wil know where the child lives, it doenst have nothing to do with what the paper work says, all they have to say is that you are the childs aunt on the registration form and you have just helped a child get gud education.

    There is no harm in this, a lot of us got to gud school via this procedure a lot of us in gud schools via this procedure, your not forced to assist them, but it would not bring any of the drama you’ve stated here in your life.

    We are still aaiting the free education for all right to be implimanted, it works for people in the Burbs, u need to remember our salaries are not the same, we dontall qualify to live in your district, but maybe we can afford the school fees in your district, staying in your area is a privallage not most of us have. This lies would have been worth it, it is helping to impower our disprivlaged other’s, and it works. Its necer put anyone in any trouble so far, I doubt you’d be the first, unless Im still to hear about it.

    • I have never come across this practice before. I didn’t realise it was common practice. However, I am uncomfortable with it. Perhaps I should attempt talk to a lawyer before making any decisions. I understand his desperation to get his kid a better education. He doesn’t live in a township. He lives in a suburb, but that’s not even the point. I am not at all happy to lie. So, he may have to find someone who is happy to lie. I hear you when you say that there is not harm. I don’t agree. I think that the dishonesty is already harm.

  2. Marike says:

    I wanted to get my daughter into a good school, but I live in a “bad” area. Her only option would have been to go to a mediocre school with 43 children in a single Grade 1 class (school fees R800 per month).

    I tried getting her into a school 2 km’s further away (school fees R800 per month), but was told that she could not get automatic admission, as she was living in a different ward, and that we could put her name on a waiting list – maybe things changed next year. NB: She is allowed to go, if the school has space for her – and that is the same for ALL government schools – however, they give preference to children from the immediate area, which is fair. This also eases congestion around the school areas, as people can walk or cycle to school.

    Lots of people suggested that I use their addresses for the official paperwork, but I felt that this was undemocratic and unfair. I didn’t want to make someone else’s child be number 40 in the class, just because I was number 35, 36, 37, 38 or 39 because I acted unethically. And if lying to get the child into school was okay, where would we draw the line? Lying about my ability to pay the school fees? Lying about having helped her do her homework (lots of people reckon that’s okay!)? And what lesson is she learning?

    No – if a good school is important to your child, a discussion with the principal and some patience should do the trick. If it’s important to you, you bite on your teeth and pay the R2300 for the independent (NB, not Private) school that has got 15 kids in a Grade 1 class. And go without the newest Gucci for a while.

  3. Hi Ms T,

    You are reading too much into your friend’s request. It is in your interest as a responsible citizen to see to it that her child is enrolled in that school. Forget about school reservation, help her out.

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