Gloucestershire manager treated NHS like 'cash machine'

Image source, Gloucestershire Constabulary
Image caption,
From left to right: Royston Dyke, Graham Fallows, Vincent Smith and Peter Potente

A senior NHS manager who treated his local trust as his "personal cash machine" has been jailed.

Royston Dyke, 58, led a gang who used £650,000 of taxpayers' money to fund luxury refurbishments on their homes.

Dyke was jailed in May along with Vincent Smith, Graham Fallows and Peter Potente.

On Monday a judge lifted reporting restrictions which mean the fraud can now be reported.

Imprisoning the gang at Bristol Crown Court, Judge Mark Horton said: "The reason for this fraud is both tragic and simple - one in the end of grotesque greed."

Anna Vigars, prosecuting, said Dyke was responsible for overseeing project managers engaged in estate works at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust.

But he led a plot to siphon off cash from the trust's coffers, enticing Smith, 58, and Fallows, 59, who owned Longlevens Building and Roofing and decorator Potente, 54, to join him.

The jury heard Dyke would raise purchase orders for work within the hospitals for small amounts of money that didn't need extra authorisation.

Image source, Gloucestershire Police
Image caption,
Dyke used almost £400k of NHS funds to renovate his Gloucester home

He would then get the others to invoice him but in reality the work was being done on the gang's own homes.

Judge Horton said Dyke "used and abused" his position "knowing more readily than the public that the money you obtained deprived the ability of the trust to look after the vulnerable and sick who needed it."

James Tucker, defending Dyke, said he was remorseful and would be "ruined" after paying compensation.

Image source, Gloucestershire Police
Image caption,
Dyke made little effort to conceal the fraud in emails sent from his NHS account

All four admitted conspiracy to commit fraud and were ordered to pay compensation.

Dyke was jailed for four years and eight months, Smith and Fallows for three years and four months, and Potente for 16 months.

Dyke's partner, Claire Neely, was due to stand trial for money laundering but the case was dropped.

Speaking after the trial Det Insp Wayne Usher, head of fraud and financial crime at Gloucestershire Police, said: "It's quite clear Roy Dyke wanted to live this lavish lifestyle.

"He treated the NHS like a cash machine."

Deborah Lee, chief executive at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust, said the fraud was "abhorrent".

"It speaks to his moral compass and was devastating for his colleagues, who did not share his values."

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