Shameless NHS manager who stole £1m from the health service returned to work for NHS
Date published: 05 March 2018
John Leigh and Deborah Hancox
A shameless NHS manager who was jailed for stealing £1m money from the health service is understood to have returned to work – for the NHS.
Between 2003 and 2008, NHS managers Deborah Hancox and John Leigh, from Middleton, masterminded a £1m fraud using bogus companies they set up while working for the former North West Strategic Health Authority to sell products to the NHS at highly inflated prices.
Subsequently, Hancox was sentenced to 24 months and Leigh to 44 months in prison. In 2016, they were ordered to repay £184,930 to the NHS.
An insider told the Daily Mirror how Hancox returned to work for the NHS under a different name for a full year. She is understood to have worked for Greater Manchester Shared Services as an Effective Use of Resources Officer using the name Moshin. She is believed to have been asked to leave the post in February.
The couple were involved in a seven-year conspiracy between January 2001 and October 2008 to supply goods and services to the NHS at inflated costs. It is thought the value of the fraud was more than £1m, with the couple pocketing about £300,000 from the scam.
For more than seven years, Leigh used a company called Action Direct Technology Ltd - of which his partner Hancox was the owner, sole shareholder and company director - to buy overpriced goods and defraud his employer the NHS.
They operated a profitable criminal enterprise for years, with Action Direct Technology Ltd making huge amounts of cash.
In July 2007, the company stopped selling to the NHS and Leigh began to use a company called Bibi IT Solutions. 50 percent ownership of Bibi IT Solutions belonged to a company called Symetrics Global Consultants based in the Virgin Island. The sole shareholder of this company was later revealed to be John Leigh.
Later, a company called Wiscom Technology Ltd was also used to source goods and services for the NHS at exorbitant prices. The actual goods were then bought for much cheaper prices from other suppliers and the four pocketed the difference for themselves.
The total value of orders through Action Direct was £824,093, through Bibi IT solutions £181,053 and Wiscom £55,934.
Following an operation involving GMP, NHS Protect and the National Crime Agency, on 30 December 2013, Leigh and Hancox were extradited from Cyprus to face criminal charges.
As the investigation unfolded, police discovered some of the profits had been used to buy an apartment in Dubai, a cottage in Windemere which was rented out as a holiday home, a brand-new Jaguar convertible and a Mercedes.
At the time, Police Sergeant Laura Walters said: "This couple were involved in an well-orchestrated and meticulously planned conspiracy to defraud the NHS out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
"This was not a get-rich quick scheme - this was a sustained criminal enterprise stretching over seven years. Seven years is a long time to see the error of your ways but these individuals showed no remorse for their actions.”