Criminal group sentenced to nearly 13 years behind bars for conspiracy to defraud NHS

Former NHS employee Royston Dyke and his co-conspirators Peter Potente, Graham Fallows and Vince Smith were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on 24 May this year for conspiracy to defraud.

Dyke, 49, was employed by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the role of associate director for capital and development, wherein one of his responsibilities included approving contractor invoices.

Dyke had been employed by the Trust and the NHS for many years, before being suspended (in connection with allegations of mispractice) pending an internal investigation in 2015, later having his employment terminated. Through investigations led by the Gloucestershire NHS Counter Fraud Service and the Gloucestershire Constabulary, it was revealed that a total of 204 invoices, typically worth a value of between £3,000 and £5,000, had been submitted. The majority of these invoices were for work that had never taken place. Dyke signed the majority of the invoices. Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was defrauded to the value of £655,013.

The two contractors were PSP Decorators Ltd (PSP), which was run by Peter Potente (54), and Longlevens Building and Roofing Ltd (LBR), operated by Graham Fallows (59) and Vince Smith (58). Potente, Fallows and Smith are all friends of Dyke.

Suspicions were raised through the Trust’s internal processes due to Dyke’s particular interest in signing off invoices submitted by PSP and LBR as well as the lack of recognition of work carried out on the days claimed.

Following on from these suspicions, a thorough investigation was launched by the Gloucestershire NHS Counter Fraud Service and the Gloucestershire Constabulary. It was later revealed that Dyke used the money that he defrauded to fund a lavish lifestyle, as well as renovating his home and that of his family through LBR, which was owned at the time by Fallows and Smith.

Conspiracy to commit fraud

Dyke, Smith, Fallows and Potente were all charged on Monday 20 June 2016 with one count each of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position. All four pleaded guilty.

On 24 May this year, they appeared at Bristol Crown Court for sentencing; Dyke was sentenced to four years and eight months’ imprisonment of which he will serve half. The remainder will be on licence.

Smith and Fallows were both sentenced to three years and four months behind bars of which they will both serve half. The remainder will be on licence.

Potente was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment of which he will serve half. The remainder will be on licence.

The group have been sentenced to a total of 12 years and eight months between them (combined).

Proceeds of Crime Act

Recovery under the Proceeds of Crime Act is being pursued for all four subjects by Gloucestershire NHS Counter Fraud Service and the Gloucestershire Constabulary. The Trust is set to recover 90% of the money defrauded, with the four individuals being ordered to pay back £594,433.

Through the investigation, it also came to light that Dyke had a previous criminal conviction and a police caution. He had failed to mention them to the Trust on the two occasions that he had applied for promotions (in 2002 and then again in 2007). On 24 July this year, Dyke appeared at Bristol Crown Court and pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud, one count of obtaining employment by pecuniary advantage by deception for self and one of fraud by false representation. He was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment on both counts to run concurrently with his existing sentence. Dyke will also now lose his NHS pension.

Richard Rippin, head of operations at the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, commented: “The NHS Counter Fraud Authority commends the great work the Gloucestershire NHS Counter Fraud Service and Gloucestershire Constabulary have done together in tackling fraud. Their collaborative efforts have ensured that four people who thought they could take advantage of the NHS have been brought to justice. One of the perpetrators went so far as to spend the money he had stolen from the NHS to fund a luxurious lifestyle. Money intended for patient care should stay where it belongs. That is in the public purse. This result demonstrates that NHS fraud will not be tolerated. Fraudsters will be brought to justice and, wherever possible, redress of the money stolen will be sought.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

Related Posts