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Nursing student found guilty of £50,000 fraud

A care home nursing assistant who defrauded the NHS of almost £50,000 after lying about her immigration status has received a 12-month suspended sentence at Colchester Crown Court.

Lorraine Nkuni Tshuma, 47, has further been served with a deportation notice after it was discovered her visa expired nearly a decade ago. She has also been ordered to serve 220 hours of community service, while a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation application has been opened.

NHS fraud investigators and the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) found that Tshuma arrived in the UK in 2000 on a six-month visitor’s visa to take a short training course. After the visa had expired she obtained a false Home Office letter that appeared to grant her indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK.

This gave the illusion she had settled status and Tshuma used the letter to gain admission to a three-year nurse training Diploma course at Anglia Ruskin University in October 2004 - with £18,238 sponsored by the East of England Strategic Health Authority.

Shortly afterwards, using the same letter, she successfully applied for a full Diploma level NHS student bursary of £30,972 and dependants’ allowances for her three children, whom she brought to the UK. She went on to fraudulently earn £13,100 working in private care homes.

Hilary Cullen, investigating officer, NHS Counter Fraud Service, said: “We hope this sentence acts as a deterrent to others who might defraud the NHS.

“We follow up any suspicion of fraud against the NHS that is reported to us and wherever appropriate will press for prosecution and the strongest sanctions against offenders.”

Tshuma gained a certificate but did not pass the diploma to become a fully qualified nurse.

Readers' comments (7)

  • I would like to point out that she is not a student nuse at this time and it is wrong of NT to make capital out of this in the headline.

    However it does demonstrate the lengths some will go to taking advantage of our systems and the care we need to take to prevent this occurrence

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  • not a student nurse now- but did have this status and the money that went with it-- also a place on the course that could have been used for someone else.

    these forgeries are very clever and its not easy to spot-- home office need to start chipping the letters

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  • Common place in the UK. Student visas are routinely exploited and universities routinely lie about 'students' status...very ,very common.

    UK Borders and Immigration know about these practices but it takes place on such a massive scale that effective policing is very difficult. There is also the lack of political will to take into account.

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  • At least she was working and paying tax. Good effort.

    How come nobody checked her credentials and as a non national she was entitled to all that cash? Maybe a more suitable target for your anger?

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  • Every time someone defrauds the system stricter measures are put in place at times this puts the geniune worker/applicant off due to the amount of hoops you need to jump through which is sad because this person and others like him/her makes it difficult for others who are honest and trustworthy.

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  • Yes they may have been paying tax, but taxpayers will be paying for the child benefit for the children.

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  • Sadly, the NHS honey-pot will attract criminal bees. It is up to the organisation and the staff in it to make it less inviting to the criminal element.

    Lets face it, the UK is one of the most attractive plunder sites in the world and its our own fault.

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