A woman who defrauded the NHS of more than £24,000 was sentenced yesterday (29 April 2010) to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, after being investigated by the NHS Counter Fraud Service.
Yvonne Tapuwa Tausa, 35, of Maple Street, Middlesbrough was sentenced at Teeside Crown Court. She must also carry out 150 hours’ community service and was ordered to compensate the NHS with £1,000 within 28 days.
Ms Tausa was caught after a tip-off to the NHS Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line. She was arrested in August 2009 by Cleveland Police, accompanied by NHS Counter Fraud Specialists.
She obtained an NHS Student Bursary award between 2005 and 2008 to fund her time at the University of Teesside, where she completed a degree in Social Work and Mental Health Nursing. Between 6 December 2005 and 15 August 2008 she received monthly payments totalling £24,236.40.
When Tausa applied for the bursary she gave a forged Home Office letter indicating that she had indefinite leave to remain in the UK. As enquiries with the UK Border Agency confirmed, she was not in fact eligible, having only limited leave to remain as a student with no recourse to state funds.
After graduating in April 2009 she got a job as a social worker, working for Middlesbrough Council at the James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough.