£12 million NHS fraud suspects to appear at Lincoln Crown Court in New Year

Fifteen people accused of involvement in a £12 million fraud committed against a number of NHS Trusts and other public and private bodies are to appear at Lincoln Crown Court in January.

The charges follow Operation Tarlac, a four year investigation by police in both Lincolnshire and Guernsey with assistance from NHS Protect which was set up to counter fraud in the health service.

All fifteen defendants did not have to be present for a preliminary hearing into the case which was held at Lincoln Crown Court on Monday, October 26.

They had previously appeared at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court in September.

Judge John Pini QC adjourned the case for a plea and case management hearing at Lincoln Crown Court on January 14.

The case is expected to be split into two trials and heard at a larger court outside Lincolnshire to allow for digital presentations and the use of iPads by jurors.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The alleged scam involved people contacting organisations masquerading as legitimate construction companies contracted by them.

The fraudsters allegedly claimed that their bank details had changed, and provided account numbers which instead belonged to companies owned or controlled by the defendants.

The scam, known as ‘divert fraud’, involved payments for construction works were being diverted to other accounts.

Police investigations began following a complaint from the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust which provides mental health and learning disability services together with drug and alcohol treatment programmes.

A total of 12 frauds involving more than £12 million and seven attempted frauds involving a further £3 million are alleged to have been identified mainly involving NHS Trusts but also involve two PLCs and a number of other public bodies including the States of Guernsey.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Oluwatoyin Allison, 48, from London; Stephen Tyndale, 45, from Southwark, London; James Eman, 33, from Redditch; Ali Akbar, 31, from Redditch; Arif Habib, 54, of Bearsden, Glasgow; Asif Habib, 51, of Dubai; Monica Thomson, 38, from Airdrie; Imtiaz Khoda, 42, from Dubai; and Kalpesh Patel, 43, from Dubai; are all accused of conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to launder money between January 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012.

They are alleged to have conspired together with Bayo Awonorin and with others to defraud public bodies and other organisations, by dishonestly inducing or seeking to induce such bodies and/or organisations to divert monies due to be paid to companies holding construction contracts with the said public bodies and/or organisations, into bank accounts which were not in fact in the name of, or under the control of, the companies entitled to received such payments.

All nine together with Abdul Ghaffar, 66, from Redditch; Tariq Khan, 33, from Dubai; Zahid Muhammed, 46, from Glasgow; Yagnesh Patel, 44, from Staines, Middlesex, and Shazia Nisa, 33, face a further charge of conspiracy to launder money between January 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012.

They are alleged to have conspired with Bayo Awonorin, Walter Wagbatsoma, Zia Malak and others, to convert and/or transfer criminal property knowing or intending that the same property constituted or represented, in whole or in part-directly or indirectly, his own or another person’s benefit from criminal conduct.

A 15th defendant Oghogho Ehanire, 41, of Preston, is accused of money laundering between June 14, 2011 and December 31, 2011.