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PM sent to prison for defrauding practice out of £100k

21 March 2014

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A practice manager who inflated her hourly rate to £26.14 and paid herself up to £1,000 in overtime per month has been ordered to pay back the practice. 

Sharon Head, former practice manager of Newnham Surgery in Gloucestershire had assets of £75,875 after awarding herself a pay rise every year. 

Head was responsible for the upkeep of financial records and administered the payroll. After a period of long term sick leave, in July 2012 she was asked for copies of her last three monthly pay slips for insurance purposes.

Checks revealed that these payslips didn’t match the practice’s computer records. The true amounts the manager had been paying herself, via BACS transfer, were even higher. Ever since May 2006, Head had paid herself overtime of between £500 and £1000 a month and awarded herself a pay rise every year, all without authorisation.

A joint fraud investigation by Gloucestershire’s NHS Local Counter Fraud Service and Gloucestershire Constabulary, supported by NHS Protect, led to Head being jailed for two years and nine months. 

Having initially denied all wrongdoing, Head eventually pleaded guilty to 9 out of 11 counts of fraud, admitting a total criminal benefit of £95,422.32.

Lee Sheridan, the Local Counter Fraud Specialist (LCFS) who led the fraud investigation on the NHS side, said today: “Sharon Head shamelessly exploited a position of trust but this shows others like her that they risk being caught and losing everything if they try this in Gloucestershire. Recovering the stolen money should help the practice’s GPs, who are the innocent victims of this crime, to provide care to their NHS patients.”