A temporary NHS worker who attempted to steal almost £7,000 from a charity for patients has been jailed for a year.
Ash Aariyan, 30, of Rochester in Kent, was sentenced yesterday at Maidstone Crown Court to 12 months in jail for stealing £5,825 from the charity Friends of Mental Health (West Kent and Medway), which provides practical and financial help and support to people with mental health problems, and for attempting to steal a further £1,050.
Aariyan, who was employed as a temporary worker in the voluntary services team at the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, was responsible for handling requests for grants made by staff to the charity on behalf of patients, according to a statement from NHS Protect, the NHS counter-fraud service.
The responsibility was handled solely by him because the previous manager had retired and no replacement had been appointed. When a new manager started, concerns were raised about what had been happening to some of the grants, which were paid in cash.
NHS Protect said it was quickly established that Aariyan had made false representations in a bid to defraud the charity out of the funds.
At least 22 occasions between March and July 2015 were identified in which he had either submitted a false request for charitable funds, altered a genuine request or failed to pay the applicant their grant, NHS Protect said.
Aariyan was arrested by Kent Police in September and pleaded guilty at Chatham Magistrates Court in February.
Andrew Ede, local counter-fraud specialist for Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, who led the investigation with support from NHS Protect, said: "These crimes by a small minority tarnish the efforts of all the honest and hard-working people working in and for the NHS."
Nicole McLaughlin, south-east area anti-fraud specialist for NHS Protect, said: "This was not only a crime against the NHS. Ash Aariyaan cynically deceived patients who were at their most vulnerable and deprived them of much-needed equipment."