Jail for health care firm boss who falsified time sheets

A TRUSTED manager and two female workers at a healthcare company office falsified time sheets which meant workers got paid for hundreds of hours they never worked, a court heard.Andrew Wheeler, 44, of Thorney Road, Guyhirn, was manager of the Jark Health

A TRUSTED manager and two female workers at a healthcare company office falsified time sheets which meant workers got paid for hundreds of hours they never worked, a court heard.

Andrew Wheeler, 44, of Thorney Road, Guyhirn, was manager of the Jark Healthcare branch in King's Lynn which supplied contract workers to Docking Grange care home in west Norfolk.

Wheeler falsified staff worksheets with the help of agency worker Claire Ketteringham, 24, of Waverley Close Guyhirn and office administrator Jo Lovie, 50, of Playhouse Yard, Downham Market, so it appeared staff were working more hours.

It meant staff got overpaid and it also helped Wheeler gain bonuses totalling �6,658.

Andrew Thompson, prosecuting, said Ketteringham was paid �9,574 in extra payments for work she had not done and Lovie about �1,600.

Mr Thompson said when innocent staff queried the overpayments Wheeler either told them it was a bonus or extra money which they were entitled to.

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Since the fraud came to light, he said, staff had repaid the overpayments - even though it was no fault of theirs.

He said Jark Healthcare had also suffered globally as a result of the deception as Docking Grange had terminated a �200,000 contract with them.

Wheeler, Ketteringham, and Lovie, all admitted conspiracy to steal.

Wheeler was jailed for nine months and Ketteringham was jailed for 28 days. Lovie was given a six month jail sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 100 hours' unpaid work.

Judge Paul Downes told them it had been a breach of trust and "brazen fraud."

He said Wheeler was the prime mover but Ketteringham had been an "able deputy." Lovie had been much less involved.

Judge Downes also commended Det Con Natalie Staff of Norfolk police for the hundreds of hours she had spent preparing the case.

Katharine Moore, for Wheeler, said that though the losses to the company were significant his benefit was just over �6,000.

Wheeler had got into financial problems after the collapse of his first marriage and wanted to appear to be a success in business.

Wheeler was suffering from depression and after losing his job he and his second wife were struggling to pay the mortgage on their home.

Guy Ayers, for Ketteringham, said: "She has learned her lesson."

Jonathan Dunne, for Lovie, said she had suffered enough punishment all ready, adding: "She told them everything she knew.

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