A mental health worker who used false documents to get a job in the NHS has pleaded guilty and immediately been jailed for 15 months at Snaresbrook Crown Court, London (25th February 2016), after an investigation by local NHS fraud specialists, supported by NHS Protect.
Francis Adekola, 57, formerly of Crownmead Way, Romford, Essex, was employed as a Band 3 Social Therapist at the Newham Centre for Mental Health in East London, and was arrested at his workplace in January 2016.
He pleaded guilty to one count of Fraud by False Representation, contrary to the Fraud Act (2006), one count of Obtaining a Pecuniary Advantage by Deception, contrary to the Theft Act (1968), two counts of Using a False Instrument, contrary to the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act (1981) and two counts of Possessing/Controlling identity documents with intent, contrary to the Identity Documents Act (2010).
He was employed for ten years at the Newham Centre for Mental Health, earning nearly £300K in gross salary including extra bank shifts. During this time, Adekola presented three false passports - two British and one from the Ivory Coast - to his employers as proof of his identity.
Suspicions were raised during a routine document checking exercise. Copies of the passports were sent to the Home Office’s National Document Forgery Unit for further checking, which confirmed that all three documents could not be relied upon as evidence of Adekola’s nationality. Further checks revealed that Mr Adekola was a Nigerian national and had no legal right to remain or to work in the UK.
The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) confirmed that the National Insurance number he had provided did not exist, and his National Insurance card was also a forgery.
Kevin Cane, Area Anti-fraud Manager of NHS Protect, said today: "The NHS and public expect the highest standards of probity and honesty from its employees, especially those working with the vulnerable. Adekola’s sentence sends a message to others who might consider entering the NHS on false papers".
Zenda Butler, Local Counter Fraud Specialist, said, "Francis Adekola deceived his employer on numerous occasions, and denied a legitimate applicant the opportunity of NHS employment. His sentencing demonstrates that seeking to exploit the NHS for personal gain will not be tolerated".
For more information contact Dan Houghton or James Robertson at the NHS Protect press office on 020 7895 4523/4524.
Further information on NHS Protect is at www.nhsprotect.nhs.uk
Notes to Editors
1 To report any incident of suspected fraud in the NHS, please call the Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line on 0800 028 40 60 or report online at www.reportnhsfraud.nhs.uk
2. The value of fraud, bribery and corruption identified by NHS Protect and Local Counter Fraud Specialists (LCFSs) following the successful conclusion of investigations in 2014/15 was £11.9 million. The total value of money recovered by NHS Protect and LCFSs was £2.4 million.
3. As of 31 March 2015, NHS Protect was investigating allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption with a potential value of £20 million.
4. There are some 300 professionally-trained and accredited Local Counter Fraud Specialists in place within health bodies across England and Wales.
5. To report any incident of suspected fraud in the NHS, please call the Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line on 0800 028 40 60 or report online at www.reportnhsfraud.nhs.uk
6. NHS Protect is the operating name of the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service.
7. At the time of Mr Adekola’s appointment to the NHS organization, the trust did not have the technology to verify the authenticity of documents.