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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-29-07

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Health worker claimed relatives had died to claim sick pay

A health care worker lied about the deaths of 3 family members to falsely claim almost a year's paid absence from work between 2012 and 2015.  Over a period of 3 years Joseph Wilson 1st told his NHS employer a brother had died, followed later by his cousin and then his sister. Wilson, aged 41, of Fazakerley, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to 3 offences of fraud by false representation at South Sefton Magistrates Court. on 5 July 2017.  The health care assistant was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months, 240 hours of unpaid community work and ordered to pay more than ₤5,000 compensation to Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust. The court heard that Wilson, a man of previous good character, was dismissed from his job at the Trust in December 2015 on grounds of gross misconduct after discovery of the most recent deceit involving his sister. However, inquiries by the Trust's anti fraud specialists also identified the previous absences relating to other supposed family bereavements. Following further investigation and an interview under caution, Wilson finally admitted that he had lied about all 3 deaths.

After the court hearing, investigating anti-fraud specialist Paul Bell said:- "The relatively robust sentencing, despite Wilson's previous good behaviour, reflects the fact that he had committed serial offences over a number of years. He also hadn't come clean about the deceptions when he had an opportunity to do so during his interview with investigators. Abuse of sickness absence is one of the main types of fraud in the NHS and this sentence demonstrates that this kind of abuse of public funds will not be tolerated."

Steve Shanahan, Director of Finance for the Trust, said:- "The Trust takes deceptions like Wilson's very seriously. Every allegation of fraud brought to our attention is thoroughly investigated. We won't hesitate to press for a prosecution to be brought where we believe the Trust, and in turn the taxpayer, has suffered a financial loss."


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