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Essex IT manager pleads guilty to £800,000 NHS fraud


A former NHS employee has pleaded guilty for defrauding the health service of over £800,000 by claiming he was procuring non-existent services from companies he controlled.

Barry David Stannard was head of unified communication at Mid Essex Hospital Trust (MEHT) when he committed the offences, which went on for seven years.

The former senior IT manager pleaded guilty to four offences last Wednesday (26 May 2021) at Chelmsford Crown Court, two charges of fraud by false representation and two charges of cheating the public revenue.

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Concerns first arose after the trust ran a data matching exercise on its payroll and accounts payable records alongside Companies House records.

Initial enquiries were conducted by the Local Counter Fraud Specialist provider (RSM) and the investigation was escalated to a national investigation by the NHSCFA as the likely scale of the losses emerged.

While Stannard said he had nothing to declare to the trust, the investigation found he was the director of two companies that had received a large amount of money from the trust between 2012 and 2019. 

The hundreds of invoices submitted by his own companies to MEHT were all individually for relatively low sums of money, meaning Stannard was authorised to sign them off without further checks.

On the invoices he submitted, he also charged for VAT which was never forwarded to HMRC.

The VAT he charged the NHS totalled an excess of £132,000, which is included in the total of £806,229.80 defrauded by Stannard.

The payments came from trust's IT budget. 

As a band 8B senior manager, Stannard was in a position of trust, which has left the NHS disappointed and determined to avoid a case similar case in the future.

Stannard is due to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court for sentencing on 30 June 2021.