NHS fraudster Trevor Cosson ordered to return £2m

Trevor Cosson Trevor Cosson used NHS funds to buy 11 properties

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A jailed accountant has been ordered to pay back more than £2m he stole from the NHS.

Trevor Cosson, 38, former head of financial accounting at two East Sussex NHS trusts, used the cash to fund a property portfolio.

He was jailed for five years in July 2014 and has now been told by a judge at Blackfriars Crown Court he will have to pay back £2.1m to the state.

Failure to meet the payments will result in an extra six years in prison.

Over four years Cosson stole about £2.2m from the NHS and bought 11 properties in Sussex and London.

'Staggering dishonesty'

Cosson, from Hastings, worked for Hastings and Rother Primary Care Trust (PCT) and East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT when he took the money between 2008 and 2011.

It is believed he will have to sell the properties to pay back the NHS.

Judge Henry Blacksell dismissed attempts by the defence to take £217,000 which Cosson had given to friends off the total.

"I understand it is very difficult for fraudsters in prison to get back the money they benefited from, but I'm not terribly sympathetic," he said.

The fraud was discovered by NHS Protect following a restructuring of the trusts.

The confiscation is the largest amount the organisation has been awarded under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

NHS Protect spokesman Richard Hampton said: "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."

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