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.
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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.