FOLLOWING AN investigation conducted by the NHS Counter Fraud Service (Wales), a doctor who abused his position in order to defraud both the NHS and fellow medics has been sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court to two years’ imprisonment suspended for two years.
Dr Aled Meirion Jones (age 39, of Cardiff) earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of Fraud by Abuse of Position (contrary to Section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006). During the sentencing process at Cardiff Crown Court (pictured) on Tuesday 9 March, Jones was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work within 12 months. A mitigating factor in sentencing was his gambling addiction, which was designated as a medical condition.
The Specialist Registrar works for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. He was reported via the NHS Counter Fraud Authority’s Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line.
It emerged that Jones diverted cheques to his own bank account that had been legitimately earned by other doctors for their work to certify the cause of death before a person’s body is released for cremation. At that time, certifying doctors would receive a standard fee of £82 on each occasion.
These handwritten cheques from a Cardiff funeral home, each made out to the appropriate doctor, were sent to the Bereavement Office at University Hospital Wales for collection by the individuals.
It came to light that the original payee’s details on 27 of these cheques for £82.00 had been altered to ‘A JONES’ and were then deposited into a bank account he controlled. In March 2019, Jones was arrested at his workplace at the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board with the assistance of the South Wales Police.
Interviewed under caution
Following his arrest, Jones was interviewed under caution by specialist investigators operating for the NHS Counter Fraud Service (Wales). He made full admissions to the theft of the cheques, but subsequently denied any other wrongdoing.
However, further enquiries revealed that, between 2017 and 2019, Jones had stolen and altered numerous cheques worth £33,235.40 and submitted false claims for exaggerated hours and Locum shifts he did not work to a number of health boards in South Wales totalling £34,184.86.
Cheryl Hill, deputy head of the NHS Counter Fraud Service (Wales), said: “The NHS Counter Fraud Service (Wales) is very pleased to have put a stop to the criminal activities of Dr Aled Meirion Jones, who might otherwise have continued to defraud the NHS and steal from his colleagues for years to come. Precious NHS funds are sorely needed for their intended purpose, which is the care of patients. Dr Jones has been referred to the General Medical Council.”
Confiscation proceedings have commenced with a Mention Hearing scheduled for Tuesday 11 May.