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NHS Procurement Manager jailed for £1m fraud, rejoins health service

Wednesday 11th July, 2018

An NHS manager who was locked up for a £1m con went back to work for the health service after being freed.

Deborah Hancox, 48, was jailed with her partner John Leigh, 58, for a sophisticated IT fraud which started in 2003.

The couple, from Middleton, set up bogus firms to sell goods back to the NHS at inflated prices.

It was ‘a well-orchestrated and meticulously planned conspiracy’, detectives later said.

When their scam was exposed after several years, they fled abroad for five more years but were hauled back to the UK to face justice in 2014.

The pair, who had both worked for the NHS, admitted fraud. Leigh was jailed for 44 months and Hancox was handed a two-year sentence.

But after her release she went back to work for the NHS - leaving her new colleagues horrified when they learned the truth about her past.

It is understood she was employed as an ‘Effective Use of Resources Officer’ after being taken on via a recruitment agency.

The source said: “I am appalled that someone with Hancox’s history who served time in prison for stealing from the NHS could get a job at the NHS again through an agency.

“What she did was disgusting but the fact she’s managed to get back in is horrifying.”

In 2014 a court heard the couple pocketed £300,000 by supplying the NHS with goods at inflated prices.

Items were marked up by as much as much 60 per cent and their firms turned over at least £1million.

They splashed out on a luxury Jaguar, a holiday cottage in the Lake District and an apartment in Dubai.

When the scam was discovered in 2008 they fled to northern Cyprus, which had no extradition treaty with the UK, where they were able to evade justice.

But they were arrested during a visit to southern half of the island in 2013 and brought back.

Manchester crown court was told Leigh worked for the NHS in purchasing.

He was responsible for buying computers and office equipment for various departments. Hancox also worked as an NHS manager.

Sgt Walters added at the time of sentencing: “It is also clear they used the proceeds of their criminal activity to live a lavish lifestyle. They had a home in the Lake District and they also invested in property in the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus.”

“I also want to stress this is by no means a victimless crime. It is the NHS they scammed out of out thousands of pounds - money which the NHS badly needs for the treatment of people with genuine illness. Every penny they plundered is money that was diverted away from someone in desperate need of medical treatment.