Fraudster robbed NHS of £200k.

Posted: June 11, 2010 in Law & Disorder, NHS WATCH

IlieNHS Counter Fraud Service Press Release

London hospital chief jailed for £200k NHS and charity fraud

Immediate release – Thursday 10th June 2010

A senior NHS manager who bought horse semen, thoroughbred horses and numerous other goods and services for her private stud business with NHS funds was today jailed for two years and nine months at Southwark Crown Court for defrauding the National Health Service of over £200,000 (Thursday 10th June, 2010). The sentence follows an extensive joint investigation by the NHS Counter Fraud Service (NHS CFS) and the Metropolitan Police.

Louise Tomkins, 47, of Faygate, Horsham, West Sussex, earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of making a false representation, contrary to The Fraud Act 2006, covering the period July 2007 to September 2008. Sentencing was adjourned to allow her to achieve the best prices for some of her horses in the Spring horse sales, with a view to the NHS being paid back. The Economic Crime Unit of Hammersmith Police has commenced confiscation proceedings to recover the money.

Tomkins abused her positions of trust, first as a general manager at the former Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust (now Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust) and then as interim Director of Operations for Ealing Hospital NHS Trust, to divert public money.

In order to pay the high costs of her private horse and stud farm business, she fabricated and manipulated invoices which she took into work and then authorised for payment by the NHS. Tomkins ensured her employers paid for numerous goods and services that the hospitals did not require nor receive – including the import of thoroughbred horses and horse semen from world class stud farms in several European countries.

A huge number of invoices for hundreds, or thousands, of pounds each were doctored by Tomkins, who was imaginative in disguising them as legitimate payments to NHS suppliers: she altered one for £3,000 to claim it was for a “titanium skull cap” for a patient, another to “prosthetic limbs”. A £4,000 bill for a new specialist CCTV system at her stables was claimed to be for a hospital CCTV system. Many bills were for stabling fees (typically £150 per week per horse) and rent for fields and farm buildings. These and other invoices (from innocent suppliers to her horse business) were transformed into invoices for everything from “paediatric services” and “psychological support for breast cancer patients” to payment for “locums” and “administrative support” and sundry hospital hardware such as “two portable washing aid units” (£8,000).

Her role at the Hammersmith Hospital included acting as a Fund Advisor for hospital charitable funds, which she misused, again through falsified invoices, to benefit her own business.

Tomkins was suspended by Imperial College NHS Trust on 23rd September 2008 shortly after allegations were first made. She was charged at Hammersmith and Fulham police station on 11th August 2009 and at a disciplinary hearing held by the Trust on 27th November 2009 she was dismissed for gross misconduct. The investigation also prevented the payment of a substantial redundancy package of £41,944.00 about to be given to Tomkins, to settle a grievance she had brought against the Trust.

Even while under investigation, she continued to seek employment in the NHS using employment agencies, under the guises of ‘Tonka Joud’ and ‘Rosemarie Joud’.

Kevin Cane, London Regional Team Manager of the NHS Counter Fraud Service, said today: “This was a very serious matter. LouiseTomkins flagrantly abused her very senior positions, positions of trust. She deliberately diverted NHS resources away from frontline services and patient care for her own gain. Anyone who seeks to defraud the National Health Service needs to understand that they will be investigated, and could ultimately go to jail and destroy their career.”

Tomkins was prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Only a two year and nine months prison sentence for diverting money that could have saved people’s lives, unbelievable. Someone in authority at NHS should be asking the question how she was able to get away with this fraud at two different hospital trusts. Even the smallest of businesses tallies up receipts with goods received. Rather than give six figure salaries to pen pushers who don’t actually contribute to front line NHS services smaller more real world salaries could be given to people to check whether NHS is receiving the goods that the taxpayer is paying for!

Talking about trying to get money back from crooks.

A couple who were jailed for masterminding a massive immigration scam look set to lose more than £600,000 of their criminal earnings.

Jatinder Sharma and Rakhi Shahi were sentenced to seven and eight years in prison respectively in June 2009, following a four-week trial at Isleworth Crown Court.

The couple ran a company called Univisas. They specialised in providing counterfeit documents, qualifications and certificates to support immigration applications.

They were arrested in May 2008 after raids on their home and business premises in Southall, west London, uncovered thousands of counterfeit documents, stamps used in their production, passports, and thousands of pounds in cash.

Following their trial, officers located more money and property belonging to the group in India.

At a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Isleworth Crown Court on Tuesday 8 June, Rakhi Shahi had £107,000 confiscated from her bank accounts.

Jatinder Sharma had £74,000 from his bank accounts confiscated, but the judge also told him to hand over another £417,000 in hidden assets. If he fails to do so, he faces another four years on his sentence.

At an earlier hearing a third member of the gang, Neelam Sharma, was ordered to hand over £188,000 in cash from her bank accounts, meaning that in total more than £0.8 million has been recovered from the operation.

It’s a pity that this money recovered will go to the government who allows all and sundry to swindle us out of it!

  1. Howard Thomas says:

    For all those illgotten gains , how many illegals do we suppose are now in the UK due to just this one operation?
    Such people should be locked up for a very very long time.

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