Guest Post from Edward on the Hedd Fraud Team
It was January last year when we first reported on Jon Andrewes – a man who lied about his degree qualifications so that he could gain two top jobs in the NHS.
To remind you, Mr Andrewes’ fraud was pretty extensive. Not only did he claim to have a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and an MBA from the University of Bristol, but also a PhD from Heriot-Watt University. Mr Andrewes did not have any of these qualifications, but despite this he became chairman of the Torbay NHS Care Trust and later of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust.
His total earnings from the health bodies between 2005-16 was £1,072,076.
After being exposed he pleaded guilty and in March 2017 was jailed for two years, a sentence that he has now served.
Last week, on the 26th July, he was ordered to pay back £97,737.24 under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Despite the fraud leading to Mr Andrewes being overpaid by £643,000 over more than a decade his actual available assets currently only total £97,737.24.
He has been ordered to pay this sum back by the end of October or he will return to jail for another year. To do so he must sell some of his assets, which according to the BBC includes: ‘a half share in a Dutch barge, a share of his profit from the sale of the house in Topsham, an insurance payout for a Seat Leon car, premium bonds, and a pension plan.’
It just goes to show the risk that you run if you fake your qualifications. It also shows the risk that degree fraud poses to institutions of all sizes, from the small start-up to the behemoth that is the NHS.
In his summation, the judge mentioned that “the defendant was narrowly preferred to another candidate when he was appointed to the hospice”. In other words the NHS were just one degree verification check away from recruiting the right person.
As with our previous post the advice here is simple. Check qualifications for everyone you hire – regardless of seniority, fine CVs and track records. Fraudsters come in all guises.