Eleanor Bonde (57), who faked her identity and invented dependent children to obtain three university nursing places, and NHS bursaries, has been sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years (Guildford Crown Court, 26th June 2017).
The total loss to the NHS was £88,804.00 – enough to pay four newly qualified nurses’ annual salaries.
Bonde pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud after an investigation by NHS Protect, which leads nationally in tackling fraud, bribery and corruption against the health service. Senior Fraud Investigator Alex Tan of NHS Protect led the investigation, after UK Borders Agency was asked by a university to check the authenticity of Bonde’s documentation, and found problems.
She committed the frauds between 2001 and 2012 and failed all three courses part way through them, so never became a nurse.
NHS Protect’s investigation established that Bonde made three nursing course applications between 2001 and 2012 - to the University of Surrey, the University of Brighton and Anglia Ruskin University. It found that false identity documents were presented for enrolment at Anglia Ruskin University and University of Brighton.
Efforts to locate Bonde in 2013 proved difficult, and she was eventually arrested by Surrey Police in September 2015.
She pleaded guilty on the day of sentencing to three counts of fraud:
Obtaining a Money Transfer by Deception, contrary to section 15A of the Theft Act 1968. (sentence: 5 months’ imprisonment, suspended)
Between April 2004 and February 2007, Bonde obtained £21,858.06 in course fees and bursary payments from the NHS, by deception. Despite a direct question in her application form for the University of Brighton, she failed to disclose that she had previously attended part of a publicly funded nursing diploma course at the University of Surrey.
Using a False Instrument with Intent, contrary to section 3 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981. (sentence: 4 months’ imprisonment, suspended) continued…
Bonde knowingly used three false Zimbabwean birth certificates to deceive staff of the East of England Strategic Health Authority
Fraud, contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006 (sentence: 4 – 6 months imprisonment, suspended)
Bonde knowingly made false representations to staff of the East of England Strategic Health Authority – that various forged documents were all genuine, in order to qualify for NHS-funded course fees and bursary payments, both for herself and two non-existent “dependent children”, in relation to a nursing diploma training course, in breach of section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.
NHS Protect will now seek to recover the defrauded money for the NHS, so it can be properly used for patient care and staff education. A notice served at Guildford Crown Court requires Bonde to provide details of all her assets. The court has set a timetable for this statement, and a date for a final hearing for the confiscation process.
Sue Frith, Managing Director of NHS Protect and Interim CEO of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, said today:
“Fraud against the NHS takes valuable resources out of the system, ultimately diverting money from patient care. In this case, a lot of public money has gone to waste to train and support someone who was well aware she was not eligible for the courses, the course funding or the bursaries. The NHS can ill afford to be exploited in this way for personal gain.
We urge NHS workers and the general public to continue reporting any suspicion of fraud against the NHS to our dedicated Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line.”
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. 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.
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 2015/16 was £6.5 million. Over £2 million was restrained and over £2.4 million confiscated using Proceeds of Crime Act as at 31st March 2016.
3. As at 31 March 2016, NHS Protect was investigating allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption worth in excess of £25 million.
4. There are some 300 professionally-trained and accredited Local Counter Fraud Specialists in place within health bodies across England and Wales.
5. NHS Protect is the operating name of the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service.
6.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.