England

NHS boss jailed over £3m fraud

Four people have been sentenced for money laundering and fraud offences as part of a £3m scam against the NHS.

Leeds Crown Court heard Neil Wood , 41, was a senior executive within NHS England responsible for providing training for managers.

He used his position to award contracts to companies run by family and friends who then billed the NHS with inflated invoices.

Wood then split the excess money with his three co-defendants.

'Vast sums'

Simon Higginbotham, specialist fraud lawyer at the Crown Prosecution Service, described the level of fraud as "staggering".

"Wood outsourced services which could have been undertaken in-house so that his wife, friends and contacts received vast sums of money they were not entitled to," he said.

"However, of the money his friends received, Neil Wood more often than not received a 50% cut.

"In total over £3m was fraudulently spent in this way and Neil Wood received over half of that."

Wood, of Heydon Close, Leeds, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by misrepresentation.

He was jailed for four years and eight months.

His wife Lisa Wood, 40, also of Heydon Close, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering and received a suspended jail sentence of 16 months.

The court heard money was transferred to the Woods through a company run by her.

Huw Grove, 45, from Bristol, was convicted on two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position. He was jailed for four years.

Grove ran a training company which was given NHS contracts by Wood.

Terence Dixon, 46, from Monmouth was sent to prison for for 12 months after being found guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position.

The court was told Wood paid Dixon an £18,000 "administration fee" for work that was not carried out.

Four other people were acquitted of all charges following a trial at Leeds Crown Court in November.

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