Four jailed over £1.1m Basildon Hospital scam

Basildon Hospital The four people jailed ran London Perfusion Science Ltd and moonlighted at other hospitals

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Four health experts who executed a "well-planned" fraud at a hospital they nicknamed "Bas Vegas" have been jailed.

The group billed the NHS £1.1m for their firm's heart and lung services but only worked half their contracted hours at Basildon Hospital, in Essex.

Company managers Martin Oliver, 37, Ann Clements, 51, John Mulholland, 41, and Tom Cumberland, 42, were motivated by "greed", Judge David Owen-Jones said.

They had been convicted of conspiracy to defraud at Basildon Crown Court.

Judge Owen-Jones described the scam as "well-planned, organised and executed initiative".

He said: "While taking a salary from the NHS for a 37-and-a-half hour week, you worked elsewhere at other hospitals during NHS hours.

"You, all four, gravely abused the trust placed in you."

14,000 hours not worked

Their firm, London Perfusion Science Ltd, provided services to manage heart and lung machines during cardiac surgery between 2007 and 2011.

The group failed to work 14,000 hours for which they were paid.

Instead, they earned an extra £700,000 for the company through their private work, largely at Hammersmith Hospital.

Prosecutor Shane Collery told the court internationally-renowned heart specialist Mulholland was the ring-leader.

The court heard it was not clear how much the group profited from the fraud, but it is thought they earned salary overpayments of £420,000.

They referred to the hospital as Bas Vegas - a nickname based on US gambling capital Las Vegas, the court heard.

Careers 'in tatters'

Benjamin Summers, for Mulholland, said the destruction of his career had been "utter and complete".

Clements, Oliver and Cumberland were all said to be medium-scale players whose careers were also in tatters.

Adam Kane, for Oliver, said no patients had suffered.

Mulholland, of Copenhagen Place, London, was jailed for three years.

Martin Oliver, of Basin Approach, London, Ann Clements, of Wharf Lane, Limehouse, and Tom Cumberland, of Penge, London, were each jailed for two years.

All were banned from being company directors for four years.

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