Inspection and Regulation

23.05.18

Seven found guilty for defrauding NHS using ‘ghost shift’ payments

Seven people have been prosecuted for money laundering and conspiracy to defraud offences against the NHS, the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) has revealed.

Medical recruitment officer Charles Elad, 46 – who was working for ID Medical at the time – along with four healthcare assistants and a nurse he had persuaded to defraud the NHS, were all sentenced at Kingston-upon-Hull Crown Court.

The NHS lost almost £73,000 as a result of the crime and various hospitals were targeted, including Scunthorpe General, Royal Blackburn, Shrewsbury and Darlington.

The five workers – George Kiberu, Violet Nhende, Abosede Amusan, Ernest Anonyo and Rilindis Bessem – all assisted Elad in submitting numerous fraudulent timesheets. The recruitment agency then paid them for unworked hours and unknowingly invoiced the trusts.

Once an agency worker was paid for these “ghost shifts,” Elad then asked them to make a payment to him, using his wife’s bank account to hide the transactions. As a result, she was also convicted of one money laundering offence.

Each of the five workers was convicted of separate fraud conspiracies with Elad.

After local investigations, the Local Counter Fraud Specialist for Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS FT referred the case to NHSCFA, who was then able to prove that Elad and the other defendants had conspired, and that the recruitment agent was the orchestrator.

Elad was sentenced to three years in prison after denying five counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and one count of fraud. He was convicted of four counts of the former and one of the latter, with the remaining conspiracy count left to lie on file.

The two healthcare workers who denied the allegations received a 16-month and a six-month prison sentence, while the three who admitted to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud received different prison sentences, all suspended for two years.

Richard Rippin, head of operations at the NHSCFA, said the result demonstrates the value of local and national NHS bodies working in partnership to tackle fraud.

“The NHSCFA is delighted with the outcome of this investigation,” he added. “Although this crime was orchestrated by Charles Elad, all seven conspired to deliberately defraud multiple NHS organisations.

“They had been employed to care for NHS patients, but instead took resources away from patient care for their own personal gain.”

 

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