NHS doctor’s surgery manger diverted cash to herself in £700,000 scamJuly 11, 2019
NHS GP’s surgery manager, 44, who falsified patient records to divert cash for medicine, salaries and supplies to herself in £700,000 scam to fund gambling habit is jailed for three years
- Mother-of-two Karen Evans, 44, used most of money to log into betting apps
- Four of five doctors had to leave or take early retirement as a result of thefts
- On one occasion she won £120,000 but frittered away her winnings in days
- Admitted fraud by abuse of position and jailed for three years and four months
- ** Do you know Evans or were you affected? Please email: [email protected] **
Karen Evans, 44, falsified patient records to divert money earmarked for medication, staff wages and medical supplies
A doctor’s surgery manager has been jailed for more than three years for plundering nearly £700,000 of NHS money to gamble on her mobile phone.
Karen Evans, 44, of Hyde, Greater Manchester, falsified patient records to divert money earmarked for medication, staff wages and medical supplies to her two bank accounts over 15 months.
The-mother-of-two used most of the money to log into betting apps including Sky Bet, Gala Bingo and Bet Fred.
Four of the five doctors at the surgery in Failsworth had to leave or take early retirement as a result of the thefts.
She won £120,000 and a free bottle of champagne on one occasion – but blew her winnings on other bets in just days, Minshull Street Crown Court heard.
Evans was eventually found out when doctors at the Failsworth Group Practice launched a probe into why they had to arrange a £25,000 overdraft to pay staff.
Evans was eventually found out when doctors at the Failsworth Group Practice in Greater Manchester launched a probe into why they had to arrange a £25,000 overdraft to pay staff
It emerged £582,265.65 had gone missing in 327 illicit transactions since their manager was appointed on a £38,000-a-year salary.
Evans had executed the scam by falsifying hundreds of patient records and wrongly marked down nine of them as ‘end of life care’.
Police also found Evans had stolen £77,000 from another practice in Hattersley with falsified paperwork over medical supplies when working there from 2012 to 2016.
At the court in Manchester, Evans admitted two charges of fraud by abuse of position and was jailed for three years and four months.
The court heard she was appointed at Failsworth in December 2016 where doctors believed due to her previous experience she was an ‘experienced and well qualified manageress.’
Duncan Wilcock, prosecuting, said: ‘The surgery was run as a small business by five doctors that worked there.
Evans admitted two charges of fraud by abuse of position at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester and was jailed for three years and four months
‘Since that time only one of those five partners remain the other four have either taken early retirement or gone new places as a direct result of the defendant actions.
‘Most of the income of the practise comes from clinical commissions and the government.
‘Matters came to a crunch in spring 2018 at the practice when a £25,000 over draft had to be arranged so there was sufficient funds to allow for staff to be paid.
Evans was tasked with producing a financial report but she was then absent from work and did not attend a meeting or produce the report, the court was told.
Instead she allegedly produced a series of emails that suggested the financial position was much healthier than it actually was.
Mr Wilcock added: ‘Because she failed to attend, the partners asked the deputy to make some enquiries and review some accounts.
‘She did that that same day and it showed the business account was £31,000 overdrawn. The doctors asked for a further more in depth figure to be obtained.
‘They found money had gone into two separate accounts to Lloyd’s and Nat West banks but they were found to be in this defendants name.’
When the deputy completed the work she discovered 327 individual transactions totalled £582,265.65.
Those where all payments in addition to the defendants monthly salary. The first payment of £2,100 on January 30, 2017 – the month after she started working.
Mr Wilcock continued: ‘She was suspended on May 29 but when the full extent was laid bare she was dismissed from the practise.
‘They then began to receive bills which had remained unpaid and it has cost the partners difficulty.
‘A good deal of the money that the practise received was from NHS funds and one doctor at the practice had to spend three weeks checking the records of 12,500 patients.
‘There were 323 patient records that had been falsified – nine where marked as end of life care but they were not end of life care patients.’
The prosecutor added that the doctor had to reassure them that they weren’t in an end of life situation.
Mr Wilcock said: ‘When the bank accounts where looked at it was found that money was spent on online gambling including Sky Bet, Gala Bingo and Bet Fred.
‘Whatever she won it would appear she was simply putting them back on again. She also paid some bills, hair and beauty and some holidays in the uk and abroad – but the majority went on gambling.’
In mitigation for Evans, defence lawyer Robert Smith said: ‘She used her own bank accounts and was remorseful once she was caught and she made admissions to the police.
‘This is a women who had had many difficulties in life suffering from domestic violence and drug misuse but despite the difficulties that she has faced she has been a good mother and also has a grandchild.
‘The money that went on gambling and the holidays could well have easily been afforded from her employment and over the last number of years she was a women who had managed to get her life in order with things bubbling under the surface.
‘But she had a problem with drink and an addiction to codeine medication as a means to escape she resorted to gambling on her mobile phone using apps.
‘It is so simple to do – at one stage she won £120,000 and the gambling company awarded her a bottle of champagne but she lost the money in days.
‘Her addiction was allowed to continue and the gambling companies do play some part in this.
‘Because she was allowed to continue with that she acted in the way that she did. She has been seeking help and she knows too well there will only be one outcome today.’
Sentencing, Judge Maurice Greene told Evans her actions were ‘calculated and cruel’ and told her: ‘This money was paid into your own account by falsifying medical records and all this caused much distress to patients who were not in end of life treatment.
‘You also sent an email lying about how much was in the accounts with over 327 fraudulent transactions.
‘This caused a debt to this practise and four doctors have left as a direct result of your fraudulent activity.
‘You had further defrauded the Hattersley practice between 2012-2016. A number of fraudulent payments supposedly for medical supplies but paid to your account a total of £77,867.
‘You stole the money because of your gambling addiction but the abuse of position of trust you where in caused a serious detrimental effect on the victims of this case.
‘It is quite clear that you are a lady with a gambling addiction and have accepted that.
‘You are remorseful now and you do accept the need for treatment for gambling addiction but it is quite worrying that you could clock up well over half a million in a 15 month period.
‘It’s so easy to gamble in this way and to lose money so quickly and that is what has happened.’
The probe began when local counter fraud specialist David Alford, of Mersey Internal Audit Agency, was called in – and he prepared the ground for Greater Manchester Police’s economic crime unit to take the investigation forward.
** Do you know Evans or were you affected? Please email: [email protected] **
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