A former head of financial accounting at an NHS Trust in East Sussex who defrauded the NHS of £2.2 million has been sentenced to 5 years and 4 months imprisonment.
Trevor Barry Cosson, 38, of Hastings, East Sussex, pleaded guilty to offences under the Fraud Act (2006) and Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) to defraud Hastings and Rother Primary Care Trust (PCT) and East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT of £2.2 million. He used the money to buy an extensive portfolio of eleven properties in East Sussex and London.
The fraud was discovered after a restructure of the PCTs that Trevor Cosson previously worked for. The PCTs were disbanded and a new organisation was created – Sussex and Surrey Commissioning Support Unit – which had responsibility for financial matters. An end of year audit carried out by the new body revealed suspicious payments of hundreds of thousands of pounds. The matter was then referred to NHS Protect for investigation, who gathered evidence of further fraudulent activities by Cosson.
Cosson manipulated the internal payments systems of both of the PCTs he worked for. Standing orders were set up in the name of regular suppliers but the payments were actually credited to bank accounts controlled by Cosson. Between 2008 and 2011 Cosson authorised £810,000 worth of standing order payments, and £1.4m worth of payments between 2011 and 2012 via an internal payments system.