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Overseas student nurse jailed for £93k false identity fraud

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A Nigerian woman who provided false identity documents to secure work as an NHS student nurse in the Bristol area has been jailed for 16 months.

In addition to the prison sentence, the judge recommended she be deported, stating that “the defendant devised a sophisticated method of remaining in UK”, including the use of a false passport.

“These were serious offences committed over a long period of time”

Sue Frith

Adaku Okafor, 32, of Downend Road, Bristol, was caught after a joint investigation by NHS Protect – formerly the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service – and the Home Office Immigration Service.

She was found guilty of four offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and Identity Documents Act 2010 at Bristol Crown Court on 3 August, having used forged and stolen identity documents, false employment references and fake European Union documentation.

The court heard that she secured NHS employment for eight years – including at University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust – and was also awarded an NHS student bursary to fund her training.

During the investigation, passports and other identity documents were tested and found to be false, forged and improperly obtained.

Ian Gilpin, an anti-fraud specialist at NHS Protect, added: “As a result of adopting these false identities, she was able to deceive the NHS and several other government departments.

Bristol

Bristol

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

“By taking up a university place, she denied genuine applicants the chance to start their studies and embark upon careers in nursing,” he said.

Sue Frith, managing director of NHS Protect, added: “These were serious offences committed over a long period of time, with the intent of diverting public money away from the NHS and other government agencies.

“The sentence reflects this and should send out a warning to those intending to defraud the NHS,” she said.

NHS Protect noted that the original allegation against Ms Okafor had stated that a number of individuals in the Bristol area were involved in using false identity to gain NHS employment.

The agency said “measures” were in place for a further individual, who had fled the UK, to be arrested upon re-entry, while another had been deported.

  • 7 Comments

Readers' comments (7)

  • Pussy

    This just keeps on happening doesn't it? I shouldn't imagine the situation will change any.

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  • Public / private funding for necessary courses - health & medicine, engineering, etc. Courses that have a shortage but are necessary for the smooth-running and advancement of the UK. This would help. Much easier to track-down a fraud if someone has come through the UK education system.

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  • How many more?

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  • It is crucial to the integrity of our public services, that we remain alert to the potential for fraud; and continue to invest in its prevention and detection. It's important though not to generalise and assume that identity fraud, perpetrated by overseas migrants, is potentially widespread.

    Anecdote and hearsay can poison workplace atmosphere, marginilise colleagues and cause discrimination and unhappiness.

    Our default position must surely be that we accept our colleagues at face value and work collegiately; whilst as ever, on behalf of those we serve, remaining diligent.

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  • More flexible employment opportunities would help allow Mums or Dads return to Nursing - and hence consider employment again in the NHS or re-registration through the RTP courses. Hopefully it will allow more genuine folk back to employment that helps the service, and helps use these peoples skills that are presently lost to a struggling NHS, through the restrictive employment practice. The headaches currently encountered mean that these very people are choosing / preferring careers in family friendly (employment) supermarkets. A loss the country cannot afford.

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  • What do you call "more flexible employment opportunities"?

    Can you provide examples of what you believe should be made available?

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  • She is not the only who made it through this university. I came across another article and the person made it through with fake documents and worked as a nurse in UK.
    https://www.nmc.org.uk/globalassets/sitedocuments/ftpoutcomes/2017/january-2017/reasons-boma-cccsh-50440-20170202.pdf

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