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NHS Protect helps solve £12m divert fraud (Operation Tarlac) with computer forensics

Lincolnshire Police have acknowledged the central role played by NHS Protect’s Forensic Computing Unit in bringing an organised crime group to justice, ten of whom were sentenced on Friday, 23rd June (Leicester Crown Court).

“I would like to pay particular thanks to NHS Protect, and in particular the work undertaken by their Forensic Computing Unit, who have provided exceptional support to this investigation - an outstanding example of partnership working,” said Sgt Mike Billam, Head of the Lincolnshire Police Economic Crime Unit.

Since the end of 2011 Lincolnshire Police have been investigating a series of divert frauds (also known as mandate frauds) against public bodies including a number of NHS Trusts. Over £12 million was subsequently laundered, much of it overseas. Numerous UK police forces and agencies in Dubai, Poland and other countries worked closely to crack the international organised crime group.

Sue Frith, CEO (Interim), NHS Counter Fraud Authority and Managing Director, NHS Protect, said today:

"The collaborative work NHS Protect does with other agencies is vital in tackling fraud against the health service. We applaud the work done by Lincolnshire Police to bring these criminals to justice, and have been working together closely on this investigation. Our outstanding Forensic Computing Unit and intelligence, fraud investigation and financial investigation specialists have played key roles.

We urge anyone who suspects fraud against the NHS to report it to our Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line 0800 028 4060. This can be done anonymously."

The NHS targets (information supplied by Lincolnshire Police press office)                                                    

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust lost £1.28m, which was laundered through eight separate bank accounts                                                                

Royal Free Hampstead Hospital paid out £1.43m to the fraudsters, but the cash was returned

North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust was defrauded of £896,700, with £536,966 recovered

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust ignored the fraudulent request

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were targeted but did not respond

Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust paid £261,260. All the money was lost

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust also ignored the bogus email they received

For sentencing details please see Notes to Editors, below.

For more information contact James Robertson at the NHS Protect press office on 020 7895 4524. Further information on NHS Protect is at www.nhsprotect.nhs.uk.

Notes to Editors

1. Sentencing details (information supplied by Lincolnshire Police press office):

Stephen Tyndale, 47, from Southwark, London, Conspiracy to defraud contrary to common law. Conspiracy to launder contrary to sections 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977. Sentence: 10yrs imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud and 10yrs imprisonment for conspiracy to launder – to run concurrently

Monica Thomson, 40, from Lanarkshire in Scotland, Conspiracy to launder contrary to section s1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 Sentence: Deferred until 21st July 2017

Imtiaz Khoda, 44, from Lancaster in Lancashire, Conspiracy to launder contrary to section s1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 Sentence: 4yrs 6 months imprisonment and Directors Disqualification for 5 years

Asif Habib, 53, from Dubai, Conspiracy to launder contrary to section s1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 Sentence: 3 years 4 months imprisonment and Directors Disqualification for 8 years

Tariq Khan, 34, from Ilford in Essex, Doing acts tending and intending to pervert the course of public justice contrary to common law. Sentence: 8 months imprisonment and compensation order of £20,000 in favour of Lincolnshire NHS Trust

Zahid Muhammed, 48, from Bearsden in Glasgow, Entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement, contrary to section 328(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 Sentence: 21 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years, 210 hours of unpaid work and Directors Disqualification for 3 years

Yagnesh Patel, 46, from Stains-Upon-Thames in Middlesex, Entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement, contrary to section 328(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 Sentence: 15 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years and 140 hours unpaid work                                         

Abdul Naeem, 35, from Marston Green in Solihull, Conspiracy to launder contrary to section s1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 Sentence: 5 years 7 months imprisonment and Directors Disqualification for 6 years                                                                               

Mohammed Nadeem, 33, from Redditch in Worcestershire, Conspiracy to launder contrary to section s1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 Sentence: 5 years 7 months imprisonment and Directors Disqualification for 6 years

Abdul Ghaffar, 69, from Redditch in Worcestershire, Entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement, contrary to section 328(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 Sentence: 22 weeks imprisonment suspended for 15 months and electronically tagged curfew for 2 months

Oghogho Ehanire, 42, from Preston in Lancashire, Entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement, contrary to section 328(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 Sentence: 12 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years and 210 hours unpaid work

 

2. NHS Protect works closely with NHS Local Counter Fraud Specialists across the NHS in England to ensure that healthcare crime is tackled and a culture of fraud prevention and deterrence is in place.

 

3. The value of fraud, bribery and corruption identified by NHS Protect and Local Counter Fraud Specialists (LCFSs) following the successful conclusion of investigations in 2015-16 was £6.5 million. Over £2 million was restrained and over £2.4 million confiscated using Proceeds of Crime Act as at 31 March 2016.

 

4. As at 31 March 2016, NHS Protect was investigating allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption worth in excess of £25 million.

 

5. There are some 300 professionally-trained and accredited Local Counter Fraud Specialists in place within health bodies across England and Wales.

 

6. NHS Protect is the operating name of the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service.

 

7. To report any incident of suspected fraud in the NHS, please call the Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line  - powered by Crimestoppers - on 0800 028 40 60 or report online at www.reportnhsfraud.nhs.uk. Both reporting mechanisms include the option to remain anonymous.