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Former manager defrauded NHS in pay claims

4 June 2009

A former NHS Grampian manager has been ordered to carry out 80 hours of community service after she fraudulently claimed more than £2,400 from the health board.

Denise Moffett, 44, was sentenced when she appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday.

Moffett had previously admitted collecting the money by submitting overtime forms for hours she had not worked.

In total Moffett claimed 227-and-a-half hours of overtime between February and August 2007, having worked just 48.

The total fraudulent claim over the seven-month period came to £2,472.75.

Fiscal depute Lynne Mannion told the court Moffett was the office manager at the estates department, which is based at Woodend Hospital, in Aberdeen.

She said one of her duties was to authorise time sheets for staff which had been forwarded by other departments.

Moffett altered her own time sheet to state that she worked the additional overtime then submitted it to NHS Grampian's payroll department.

She was sacked after a disciplinary hearing when the offence came to light.

Defence agent Fiona Thomson told the court that Moffett had now paid back the money she claimed.

She said: "She realised very early the scale of what she had done and that is why she paid it back so quickly.

"She did seek employment but lost it as a result of this case coming to court and she is actively seeking employment.

"This seems to be a one-off, albeit a serious one."

But Sheriff Kieran McLernan said the offence was not a one-off incident.

"This course of practice was carried out over six months," he said.

"The amounts are small but the breach of trust is significant."

Communications manager at NHS Scotland's Counter Fraud Services (CFS) unit, Maggie Worsfold, last night said "Fraud in the health service will not be tolerated.  By pleading guilty Ms Moffett recognised that she acted dishonestly.

"Any money defrauded from the NHS is money which could be used for essential medical treatment.

"Abuse of the NHS will not be tolerated and those who commit fraud will be pursued rigorously with a view to ensuring that NHS funds are spent on patient care as intended."

All text and photography courtesy of Aberdeen Press and Journal