Former finance chief who stole £2 million from the NHS ordered to pay back the money

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The former head of financial accounting at an NHS Trust in East Sussex who defrauded the NHS of more than £2 million has been ordered to pay back the money.

Judge Blacksell confiscated £2,161,758.45 from convicted fraudster Trevor Barry Cosson, 38 at Blackfriars Crown Court today (Friday March 27)

Cosson’s staggering dishonesty and greed has really let down the vast majority of NHS workers

Richard Hampton, head of external engagement and services

Cosson is currently serving a five year four month prison sentence following an NHS Protect fraud investigation. He was sentenced at the same court on 25th July 2014.

The money must be paid in compensation to the NHS. NHS Protect pursued these assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. It is the largest amount NHS Protect has ever recovered under POCA.

Cosson had pleaded guilty to offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002: he defrauded Hastings and Rother Primary Care Trust (PCT) and East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT of £2.2 million.

He used the money to build a portfolio of 11 properties in East Sussex and London which he will now have to sell.

His crimes first came to light when the primary care trusts he had previously worked for were being disbanded and the newly-formed Sussex and Surrey Commissioning Support Unit carried out an audit.

NHS Protect investigators found that Cosson had manipulated the internal payments systems of both of the PCTs he worked for. Standing orders were set up in the name of regular suppliers but the payments were actually credited to bank accounts he controlled.

Between 2008 and 2011 Cosson authorised £810,000 worth of standing order payments, and £1.4m worth of CHAPS payments.

Richard Hampton, Head of External Engagement and Services, NHS Protect, said, “Today is a good day for taxpayers and NHS patients.

“NHS Protect has recovered over two million pounds for patient care that was stolen by Trevor Cosson, a senior NHS finance manager.

“Cosson is already in jail serving a long prison term after NHS Protect’s successful fraud and money-laundering investigation last year.

“Cosson’s staggering dishonesty and greed has really let down the vast majority of NHS workers - most of whom do hard, honest work for a lot less money than he was paid.

“Leading the national fight against crime in the health service, NHS Protect plays a vital role in the NHS. We are unique in having the expertise not only to investigate fraud but also to mount financial investigations under the Proceeds of Crime Act to claw back money that has been defrauded from the NHS.”