Colin Parker of Kangs Solicitors presents a reminder that, even if the intent at the outset was well intended, any expenditure of public funds in a manner other than strictly in accordance with the purpose for which it is released from the public purse can result in a criminal prosecution.
Invariably, more than one person is involved in the illegal dissipation of such funds and which can lead to a variety of potential charges including conspiracy to defraud.
Conspiracy to Defraud | Kangs Criminal Solicitors
In a previous article we reported upon the situation where one of our clients pleaded guilty to defrauding the NHS of a very substantial amount of money through a trading scheme that, initially, he believed to be legal and for the benefit of the NHS.
In order to simplify and speed up the procedure for purchasing IT equipment for his department within the NHS he introduced an intermediary company, owned and controlled by him, with the intent of purchasing the required equipment at discounted rates.
He placed the orders on behalf of the NHS with his own company, and, after a short while, he increased the sale price of the goods to the NHS, thereby creating a concealed profit for himself.
He argued that his main aim to speed up the process for the delivery of the equipment justified the profit made by his company, but the process did not satisfy established NHS procedure, had not been approved and the profit was gained illegally at the expense of the NHS.
Both he and his accomplice were charged with conspiracy to defraud.
A Recent Case | False Invoice Fraud | Kangs Fraud Solicitors
Recently, Dr Ian Walton, described as ‘a leading GP with a reputation for mental health excellence’ and Lisa Hill, a senior NHS manager, admitted defrauding the NHS by raising a false invoice in the sum of £153,600 from a charity, on whose board they both sat.
It is reported that the health chiefs never approved the funding for the GP training for which the money was directed by Walton and Hill.
Although the cash was dishonestly sourced, the sum of £57,000 had been spent on training 69 GPs and a further £62,000, sitting in the charity’s bank account, had been ‘ring-fenced’ for future GP training.
Counsel, James Horne, for Walton stated that it was not a case of the money being frittered away on foreign holidays or luxury items.
Judge Paul Farrer QC said it was an ‘unusual’ case because Walton and Hill had not set out to make money.
The Warning| Kangs Advisory Solicitors
As can be seen from the above, when receiving and disbursing public funds both intent and execution need to be totally transparent and there is no scope for manoeuvring outside of the established procedures.
Can We Help You? | Kangs Fraud Team
If you are faced with, or believe that you may face, any issues relative to the instances outlined above, our team will be delighted to hear from you and can be contacted through: