A practice manager who stole £70,000 from his employers was sentenced today (28 September 2009) to 15 months' imprisonment at Truro Crown Court. A confiscation order was made that he must pay back £48,000 to the practice.
Richard Matthews, 52, the former manager of Rosedean Surgery in Liskeard, was charged with one count of theft between 2003 and September 2007. He pleaded guilty to theft at Truro Crown Court on 28 January 2009, but disputed the total amount he had stolen.
His offences came to light after a doctor took over the dispensing surgery's financial records and noticed considerable funds had disappeared, mostly recorded by Mr Matthews under "petty cash".
Devon and Cornwall Police arrested and interviewed him in September 2007, and launched an investigation with the support of the NHS Counter Fraud Service.
Debbie Lloyd, South West Operational Fraud Manager, NHS Counter Fraud Service, said: "It seems there were no direct losses to the NHS, fortunately, but Matthews was a serious drain on the practice's own funds.
"This outcome is a lesson to others who might think of exploiting a position of trust in a close-knit community. They are likely to be caught and will ruin their reputation and career."
Sally May, Director of Finance at NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT, said: "This conviction sends a clear message that fraud will not be tolerated.
"NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly continues to raise fraud awareness across the local health community through our Local Counter Fraud Service."
The NHS Counter Fraud Service said anyone who is concerned about a possible fraud against the NHS is encouraged to contact the confidential NHS Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line on 0800 028 40 60.
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"Be sure your sins will find you out – with the amount of trust the position holds and the professionalism that a PM has (or should have), this is the lowest of the low" – Name and address withheld
"Good decision. People in positions of trust should be treated severely for this type of offence" – Name and address withheld