Newport hospital worker overpayed £6k, court told
1:53pm Monday 16th December 2013 in News
A NURSING assistant who pocketed thousands of pounds in wage overpayments after quitting a part-time job at her hospital has been given 125 hours unpaid work.
St Woolos worker Karen Edwards, 43, admitted the dishonesty when fraud investigators discovered she had wrongly received £6,370 over three years, a court heard.
Edwards was a “loyal” employee but “stuck her head in the sand” when the clerical job payments continued to be credited to her account at a “difficult time in her life”, Cardiff Crown Court heard.
Edwards spent all the money on bills, petrol and other expenses, said Tom Roberts, for the prosecution.
Edwards, of Clearwell Court, Newport, was later sacked by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, the court heard.
Judge Jonathan Ferris told the court: “It is not as bad as putting her hand in the till but she stole over £6,000 from the NHS.”
Edwards pleaded guilty to one count of dishonesty by failing to disclose information to make a gain for herself under the Fraud Act 2006.
Timothy Hartland, defending, said she had generally been a loyal and hard-working employee but had gone through a difficult time in her life.
He also stressed that she had pleaded guilty to the charge at the first opportunity at a magistrates’ court hearing.
Edwards received the overpayments between April 2010 and March this year, the court was told.
She is now unemployed and has not repaid one penny of the money that she owes, the court heard.
Judge Ferris made an £8,000 compensation order including national insurance contributions for the health board, which is pursuing the matter in a civil action.
He also ordered Edwards completes 125 hours unpaid work in the next 12 months and pays £250 prosecution costs.
In a statement issued after the hearing, the health board said: “The reality of the matter is that this individual’s conduct defrauded funds from the public purse and any such loss of funds could ultimately have a detrimental impact on patient care. This type of conduct on the part of an NHS employee is dishonest and unacceptable and the NHS will take appropriate action against any member of staff who behaves in this manner.”
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