A senior NHS human resources manager, who lied about her qualifications to Devon PCT, has received a six-month suspended prison sentence and an order to pay £9,600 in compensation at Exeter Crown Court. The conviction follows an investigation by the NHS Counter Fraud Service.
Kerrie Devine, 33, of Lympstone, must also carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work after pleading guilty to six counts of fraud by false representation.
Ms Devine made false representations to Devon PCT in March 2007 in six attempts to obtain employment.
She falsely claimed to be part way through a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) course and to hold a degree in Human Resource Management from Oxford Brookes University. She also falsely claimed to hold a certificate in Marketing from the same university, and a Chartered Institute of Marketing Advanced Certificate from Swindon College.
Ms Devine was appointed by East Devon PCT in November 2003 as Human Resources Manager. In 2006, when she was on a long period of sickness absence, East Devon PCT was dissolved and Devon PCT formed, requiring staff to submit expressions of interest in new posts in Devon PCT.
Ms Devine submitted a number of dishonest applications electronically, quoting false qualifications, which she also reiterated to her line manager. She gave the impression she was well on her way to completing the higher CIPD qualification, when she was not.
She was suspended before her expressions of interest were considered.
Debbie Lloyd, South West Operational Fraud Manager of the NHS Counter Fraud Service, said: "This positive outcome to our investigation is a reminder that fraud against the NHS can be committed by people in well paid, senior positions. The NHS Counter Fraud Service will impartially investigate all suspicions of fraud and, wherever appropriate, will pursue prosecutions".
Earlier this year, Lee Joseph Whitehead, a former director of planning and service modernisation at NHS Stoke on Trent, was sentenced to 12 weeks' imprisonment for adding psychology qualifications to his CV – following an NHS Counter Fraud Service investigation.
Related article: Whoever lives by the fraud … shall perish by the fraud