Fraudster ‘led lifestyle he couldn’t afford’

A former head of financial accounting at an NHS trust who admitted defrauding the NHS of £2.2 million and buying nine properties has been sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

Trevor Barry Cosson, 38, of Tenterden Rise, pleaded guilty to defrauding Hastings and Rother Primary Care Trust (PCT) and East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT.

An investigation by NHS Protect revealed he used the money to buy an extensive portfolio of properties in East Sussex and London.

Blackfriars Crown Court heard on Friday the fraud was discovered after a restructure of the PCTs that Trevor Cosson had previously worked for.

The PCTs were disbanded and a new organisation was created – Sussex and Surrey Commissioning Support Unit – which had responsibility for financial matters.

An end-of-year audit carried out by the new body revealed suspicious payments of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The matter was then referred to NHS Protect for investigation, who gathered evidence of further fraudulent activities by Cosson.

Cosson manipulated the internal payments systems of both of the PCTs he worked for.

Standing orders were set up in the name of regular suppliers but the payments were actually credited to bank accounts controlled by Cosson.

Between 2008 and 2011 Cosson authorised £810,000 worth of standing order payments and £1.4 million worth of payments between 2011 and 2012 via an internal payments system.

All were offences under the Fraud Act (2006) and Proceeds of Crime Act (2002). The list of Cosson’s properties in St Leonards are: 50 Cooden Ledge, 52 Cooden Ledge, 27 Helmsman Rise, 41 Wentworth Way, 16 Pentland Close, 9 Smithys Close, 2 Martingale Close, 3 Welton Rise. He also owns Flat 309, Kara Court, 15 Seven Sea Gardens, London. According to NHS Protect, two other properties owned by Cosson will now be subject to a Proceeds of Crime Act action.