Man jailed for five years after admitting stealing £2m from NHS

Trevor Cosson
Trevor Cosson

A former head of financial accounting at an NHS Trust who admitted defrauding the NHS of £2.2 million and buying 11 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 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 £1.4m 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)

Sue Frith, head of the National Investigation Service at NHS Protect said: “Cosson’s dishonesty resulted in the theft of more than £2m from two local health bodies.

“He abused his position of trust so that he could live a lifestyle that he could not afford.

“Stealing from the NHS is not a victimless crime as this money could have been used to provide healthcare locally. The sentence reflects the seriousness of Cosson’s crime and will act as a deterrent to others.”