back to article IT manager who swindled Essex hospital trust out of £800k gets 5 years in prison

An IT manager who defrauded an Essex hospital trust out of more than £800,000 using two fake companies set up to commit his crimes has been jailed – after a court heard that he had previous convictions for dishonesty. Barry Stannard, a 53-year-old IT manager from Chelmsford, will spend at least two years and eight months in …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Barry Stannard

    Soon to be your new friendly face at the nearest McD's.

    With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, he might even rise to flipping the burgers.

    A well-deserved fate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Barry Stannard

      That's unfair. The vast majority of McD staff are not performing any form of community payback during or after their sentence.

      A large number of "criminals" provide payback through work at charity shops - but in all cases this is know to the organisation up front due to the blanket DBS checks in place.

      For Barry the only way forward will running his own business.

      What's missing from the sentence is the bit about paying back the money owed to the public purse.

      1. tony72

        Re: Barry Stannard

        It says "Confiscation proceedings are under way", but it's not clear how much is left to be confiscated. Should have his future earnings docked until the entire amount is paid off.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: Barry Stannard

          That's pretty much how it works. Not entire future earnings, obviously, or convicts just wouldn't bother working. Confiscation orders survive bankruptcy, so there's no way out except not having any money.

        2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Barry Stannard

          > Should have his future earnings docked until the entire amount is paid off.

          You can't make such money from a salary.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Barry Stannard

            Sell the house.

            1. IGotOut Silver badge

              Re: Barry Stannard

              The court heard that Stannard has separated from his wife and the marital home... has been sold

              1. Dabooka Silver badge

                Re: Barry Stannard

                Does no one RTFA any more?!

          2. Persona Silver badge

            Re: Barry Stannard

            He could make that from a salary, it's just he would need to skim quite a bit more to live on. A couple of fake companies to invoice should do the trick.

      2. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Coat

        800K Invoices?

        They must have twigged it was a scam with the low amounts involved.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Barry Stannard

      More likely to be seen acquiring skills with Timpson’s rehabilitation courses for prisoners.

      My understanding of POCA is that they will take the house regardless of ownership if they determine that this was paid for, or improved, as a benefit of his crime. If he fails to cough up then he can be repeatedly incarcerated for anything up to an additional 14 years.

    3. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Barry Stannard

      what do you have against working at McDs? Son in law is a manager at McDs, he went through the graduate program and works hard. Money is decent and honest.

      do be such a snob.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If he had swindled them out of £37,000,000,000

    He would have been given a seat in the House of Lords.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If he had swindled them out of £37,000,000,000

      ... But ...

      Only if he had donated a healthy cut of the loot to the Tory Party (I have heard 400000 being mentioned arround Chris Graylings Ferry Fiasco) and maybe 50000 for Bloris & Bint to waste on renovating their accomodation!

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: If he had swindled them out of £37,000,000,000

        "Only if he had donated a healthy cut of the loot " If you think those cuts are healthy I can only imaging your are the treasurer of the tory party and think all the long row of 0s is all that is needed, ignoring the fact there was a decimal point a couple of miles to the left.

        The really terrifying thing about the tories is they nor only seem to be corrupt they seem to be utterly innumerate as well.They're not selling democracy they're practically giving it away,

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: If he had swindled them out of £37,000,000,000

        £40k-£50k seems to be sufficient. The Tories are very cheap.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If he had swindled them out of £37,000,000,000

        "Only if he had donated a healthy cut of the loot to the Tory Party"

        How short some people's memories are. Tony Bliar wanted to dissolve the House of Lords when it looked like they might block some of his attempts to screw over the public but then he passed the Parliament Act (you know, the one that allowed him to tell the HoL to go f*** themselves if they tried to block anything he wanted to do) and started handing out peerages to his cronies - and suddenly they were the greatest thing since sliced bread, all threats to dissolve the institution or reduce their power suddenly disappeared and Bliar managed to get himself made UN Special Envoy to the Middle East (remind me, who sent "our boys" into Iraq looking for non-existent "weapons of mass destruction"?)

        Just because Labour claim to represent the working class and look out for those who keep the economy - and the country - going, does not make it true. You might want to reflect on the origin of - and current presence in Parliament of - "Champagne Socialists".

        You might also want to think about how much a QC or "human rights" barrister earns compared to how much a Nurse or retail worker earns before you pretend the other MPs are any better.

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Rookie numbers

    Below 1 million it's a fraud

    Above a million, it's a mates club but you have to pay mates tax (a donation, a container of books...).

  4. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

    "He's appalled by what he's done"

    I don't think you can be appalled by your own action, especially as he went as far as setting up shell companies. Feeling guilty and ashamed maybe.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "He's appalled by what he's done"

      That's what I came here to say too. He started in 2016 and it went on until 2019 when he got caught. He had 2-3 years to realise what he was doing was wrong and feel appalled. He's remorseful and appalled that he got caught.

  5. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Far too low

    Had he swindled the NHS out of £300 million, he would probably have received a knighthood.

  6. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

    What an idiot. How can anyone think they're going to get away with doing that on a long-term basis? Obviously the victims are bound to catch on eventually, and then the proof is right there where even police can find it.

    1. tip pc Silver badge

      "How can anyone think they're going to get away with doing that on a long-term basis? Obviously the victims are bound to catch on eventually, and then the proof is right there where even police can find it."

      I suspect many people have done far worse and got away with it for far longer.

      Daniel Morgan springs to mind, and there are plenty of others who have been swindled and the perps got away with it.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57484219

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        That's a completely different kind of crime, though. Assuming you mean the bent cops, that is. They try to hide what they do.

        Same applies to most crimes. There's some prospect of claiming it wasn't you, or otherwise getting away with it, once the crime is discovered. Either that or the perps flee the jurisdiction with the proceeds.

        In this case, as soon as the crime was discovered, it was not only obvious who did it, but there was direct evidence to prove it and no possible defence. And obviously no chance it wouldn't be discovered fairly soon.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      … unless you are providing tat PPE to the NHS for £200m using a £100 off the shelf company.

      FTFY

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Didn’t know Matt Hancock reads The Register.

  7. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Flame

    Motivation

    "He struggles to explain why he acted in this foolish way."

    Has he considered "Greed"?

    Oh, hang on, did that refer to stealing £800,000 from an NHS trust, or using his own name as director of the two companies he used for the fraud which lead ultimately to his arrest?

    Even the internet ransomware attackers claim to avoid targeting health service providers as I recall from a recent Register article (cannot seem to find it just now, however). I do hope that when (and it is likely it will be when rather than if) he receives medical attention during his prison stay, he reflects on what that £800,000 could have paid for.

    OK, rant over, but as a recipient of NHS care I am more than somewhat annoyed by what he did.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Motivation

      > Has he considered "Greed"?

      Maybe he thought that everyone does it. After all, you see all the time that people higher up fix contracts with their friends and nothing happens. You may even think that this is a less serious offence than kissing a colleague without observing the guidance.

      I can imagine the aspect of "Greed" when it comes to the fact that he has done it solo. If he got friends to set up and front these companies...

    2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Motivation

      "

      I do hope that when (and it is likely it will be when rather than if) he receives medical attention during his prison stay, he reflects on what that £800,000 could have paid for.

      "

      About 100,000 masks that have to be thrown away as unsuitable? A small fraction of a test & trace app that doesn't work?

  8. Blackjack Silver badge

    Just five years? For stealing from a hospital? It basically encourages people to keep targeting them.

    1. Martin Silver badge

      The judge can't just decide on a longer sentence, no matter how upset he (or we) are about him stealing from a hospital.

      There are sentencing guidelines in place in the UK, which you can look up yourself to try to ensure some consistency.

      So, as the judge said, he was given eight years, which is the maximum he could get for this offence. And he was given the standard one-third reduction for a guilty plea.

      So five years and four months is the most he could give. You might not think it's enough, and I might be tempted to agree in this case, but the judge actually did throw the book at him.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    800k for 5 years in sing sing. This guy ain't stupid. He divorced his wife so there will be a financial settlement from the divorce and they can't touch her for this as she didn't commit a crime. I bet she has the house that the money was spent on. He gets out in 2.5 and they get back together, sell the house and profit. People like this are scum. If you want to rob a hedge fund or investment banker go for it but a public service already struggling, I don't think so.

    1. elaar

      I could be wrong here, but as far as I'm aware you can have assets removed from you (even if you weren't the actual criminal), if you benefited indirectly from the crime.

  10. yetanotheraoc

    Everything about this story reeks

    "Some of these emails would supposedly come from individuals working at Data Centre Power Ltd and BNC Communications Ltd, Sarah Mills and Simon Wood. There's no evidence these individuals worked for these companies; these were essentially false identities used by Mr Stannard."

    Forget who the emails were coming from, look at who they were going to! He had approval authority for £7,500 and made off with £800,000. That's at least 107 payments spanning eight years, and nobody receiving these emails gave any thought to check on the suppliers? No mention in meetings, at the water cooler, etc.? Budgets?

    "MEHT oversaw some of the worst performing hospitals in the country at the time of Stannard's fraud, said the judge, explicitly linking that poor performance with the money he stole."

    Barry wasn't helping any, but £100,000 per year isn't going to break a hospital, much less a trust. That's like one additional full-time employee. The trust obviously has (or had) more serious problems. Mark my words, there are many more incompetents, accomplices, and indeed additional Barrys to be found.

    Home improvement. Right. House was sold. Right. When, and to whom? If sold before he was caught, what has he been spending the fraud money on since then? If sold after he was caught, hello? This guy is a fraudster through and through, the home improvement angle is *obviously* a charade to keep the funds from being reclaimed. The wife, assuming she exists, should also be investigated as an accomplice.

    The investigators need to start using tinfoil.

    1. dinsdale54

      Re: Everything about this story reeks

      Don't overestimate the competence of local government.

      Some years back my company was designing a computer system for tracking and managing payments to care homes from the council.

      During the design process we asked :

      Company : "How do you make and audit payments?"

      Council : "The care homes send us invoices and we pay them"

      COmpany "But how do you audit them?"

      Council "Sometimes we check at the end of the year"

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Everything about this story reeks

        If they're only paying approved suppliers, then the question is how those suppliers are approved in the first place.

  11. Numen

    More checking?

    You'd think it wouldn't be that hard to automate a check to see if you're being billed from a non-working company. At least once a year, and for a new supplier?

  12. Snorlax

    Poking The Bear

    "As well as creating fake identities to help disguise his fraud, Stannard was also including VAT on his invoices, something his barrister Paul Webb told the court was purely so the fraud looked convincing."

    Every fule kno you don't mess with the VAT man.

    Also, admitting to an additional fraud to make your original fraud look more convincing isn't a smart move.

  13. elaar

    So, the NHS employment rates are now TWICE the number of managers than actual doctors, and SEVEN times the number of managers than nurses (according to 2018 figures), and yet the actual management of auditing, IT and anything even related to finance is dire. What on earth is going on?

    1. MOV r0,r0

      In 2018 Warwick University had it at 31k managers in NHS England with a third of them also either doctors or nurses with clinical responsibilities. Government reported 116k NHS England doctors and 285k nurses in 2019 so I'm not sure what you misunderstood to reach your conclusions - everything, possibly.

      Whatever else it is, the NHS is a massive watering hole and staff at all levels do really well but they have to play by the rules, that's where Stannard went wrong.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lose twice that through incompetence and...

    ...get a promotion.

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