Timesheet and overtime fraud

Fraud

What is it?

Timesheet fraud occurs when staff keep a record of hours worked for the purposes of payment and this record is falsified. The risk of this type of fraud taking place is higher where there are weak controls and insufficient oversight. 

What do you need to know?

Whether you’re the person who is completing the timesheet or claiming for overtime or you’re the person who is authorising timesheets or claims for overtime, here is what you MUST consider:

  • Falsely claiming for time that has not been worked or falsely representing that hours have been worked when they have not may constitute a criminal offence and/or constitute a disciplinary offence
  • Authorising false/incorrect claims without appropriate validation may constitute a disciplinary offence
  • Knowingly authorising false/incorrect claims may constitute a criminal offence;
  • The offence of fraud by false representation involves a person making a false representation; dishonestly; with the intent to make a gain for themselves or another, or to cause loss to another or to expose another to risk of loss.
  • The offence is complete as soon as the person(s) makes a false representation. The person’s conduct must be dishonest and the intention must be to make a gain, or cause a loss or the risk of a loss to another. That gain or loss does not need to have occurred, merely the intention for such.
  • The criminal offence carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years. 

What you need to do?

  • Ensure that your timesheets are accurate and reflect your actual hours worked, including breaks. 
  • Ensure you have read and understood EEAST Timesheet Guidelines available on EAST24 under the HR Section, Harmonised timesheets page.
  • If you require further advice in relation to completion or authorisation of timesheets please contact your local HR support.

For further information about fraud/bribery or if you wish to discuss a concern please contact the Trust’s Counter Fraud Specialists, Gareth Robins on: 07825 450259, gareth.robins@tiaa.co.uk and Lisa George on: 07825 827024, lisa.george@tiaa.co.uk

Examples of what can happen

An NHS employee pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and fraud by abuse of position and was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.

In addition to paying a cheque intended for the Trust’s Charitable Fund into their private bank account, further investigation revealed that they had also manipulated their timesheets on 76 occasions to fraudulently claim payment for shifts not worked.

A bank nurse had claimed £20k worth of overtime and bank contracted hours. The line manager signed off the claims without checking them against the off-duty.  Had this been done the fraud would have been identified at a much earlier stage.

During the trial and under cross examination, the line manager gave evidence that they didn't think it was their responsibility to check.  This was met with some consternation in court and the Judge referred to it in the summing-up and criticism. The line manager had resigned before the trial but the Director of Nursing indicated that they would have pursued a disciplinary process for such a management failure.   The bank nurse received a 12-month custodial sentence.

A paramedic falsely claimed a total of £4,442.33 in overtime shifts following an investigation into overtime claims.

The defendant received a suspended jail sentence, was ordered to complete 180 hours’ unpaid work and pay £4,442.33 compensation to the Trust. They must also pay £85 in costs and £80 to the victims’ fund.

A technician who dishonestly claimed for five overtime shifts he did not work was ordered by a judge to repay the money.  It related to bogus claims for overtime work totaling £723.00.

The defendant was employed as an ambulance technician and, as part of their employment, worked overtime at various locations on various dates. The defendant accepted that on five occasions their claims for overtime payments were dishonest as they didn't work on those days. The defendant pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and was ordered to re-pay the £723 and fined £500 with £500 costs.  The defendant was dismissed from the NHS.

Published on 16th March 2018 

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