UK - A woman by the name of Karen Evans, who was tasked with managing a doctor’s surgery in the UK, has been sent to prison for more than three years after the court found her guilty of stealing nearly £700,000 ($877,000) from the NHS to fund her addiction to mobile gambling.
The 44year-old fabricated patients’ records to get away with the money. She transferred cash that was meant for staff salaries, medical supplies, and medication to two of her personal bank accounts. This went on over a period of 15 months.
The funds were wagered through online gambling apps such as Betfred, Gala Bingo, and Sky Bet. In one particular session, Evans won £120,000 ($150,000) and a bottle of champagne. However, it did not take her long to also lose all of her winnings.
Five doctors worked in the surgery and four of them had to take leave or early retirement because of her scam, according to testimony that was heard in the Minshull Street Crown Court.
Evans pled guilty to two charges of fraud by abuse of position and was condemned to three years and four months in prison. The theft was uncovered when the doctors needed an overdraft of £25,000 ($31,000) to pay the staff’s wages. This led the doctors in the Failsworth Group medical practice to take a closer look at their finances where they finally discovered what had happened to their funds.
Evans started working at the practice in 2016. She boasted of a fine track record, but only started her misdeeds a few weeks into the job. In all, there were 327 transactions involving £582,265.65 ($729,869.99), while she was drawing a salary of £38,000 ($47,600).
The prosecutor, Duncan Wilcock, said, “There were 323 patient records that had been falsified – nine were marked as end-of-life-care but they were not end-of-life-care patients. The doctor had to reassure them that they weren’t in an end-of-life situation.”
The bank accounts clearly indicated the money flowing into online gambling accounts. When she was victorious, most of the money would promptly be placed on yet another bet. She did use some of the winnings to pay bills, go on holiday trips, and on hair and beauty as well. However, for the most part, most of the money was used to fund her gambling habit.
Further investigation into Evans uncovered that this actually was not the first time that Evans robbed her employers. Further investigations were conducted when these allegations came to light. It was discovered that she stole about £77,000 ($96,500) from a different doctor located in Hattersley. She conducted the scheme from 2012 until 2016.
According to the defendant’s attorney, Evans is “a woman who had had many difficulties in life, suffering from domestic violence and drug misuse.”
He also defended her client, saying that she is a good mother and that she has been working hard to turn her life around. However, she has alcohol and codeine medication addiction, and she would turn to gambling to escape. The barrister placed some of the blame at the gambling companies, saying they might have identified her problem with gambling and put a stop to it.