A former senior IT manager has pleaded guilty to defrauding the UK’s National Health Service of £800,000 over seven years.
Barry David Stannard, a 53-year-old from Chelmsford, Essex, admitted to four offences at Chelmsford Crown Court, including two charges of fraud by false representation and two charges of cheating the public revenue.
The NHS Counter Fraud Authority found that when head of unified communications Mid Essex Hospital Trust, Stannard submitted a “nil return” declaration of interests forms to the trust, but an investigation confirmed he was actually the director of two companies that had received a large amount of money from 2012 to 2019.
No products or services invoiced for by these companies were ever provided to the NHS, according to a statement from the NHS Counter Fraud Authority. All of the hundreds of invoices submitted by his companies to the trust were individually for less than the limit Stannard was authorised to sign off from the IT budget without further checks.
The Court determined that the total amount defrauded was £806,229.80. Concerns over the fraud first arose after the trust ran a data matching exercise on its payroll and accounts payable records, alongside Companies House records, the Authority said.
It was first investigated by the Local Counter Fraud Specialist provider before being escalated to a national level once the likely scale of the losses involved became clear.
The investigation found that on the invoices Stannard submitted, he also charged for VAT which was never forwarded to HMRC, making up £132,000 of the total amount he defrauded the NHS.
Stannard is due to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court for sentencing on 30 June 2021. ®