An NHS worker is facing jail today over a fraud that saw hundreds of thousands of pounds meant for vital cancer drugs fleeced from a world-renowned hospital and used on shopping sprees and mortgage payments.
Stacey Tipler exploited her job in the accounts department to help orchestrate a scam that resulted in just over £642,000 being diverted from the Royal Marsden in London.
The cash was funnelled to a group of co-conspirators who then passed the lion’s share to Tipler’s partner and the ringleader Scott Chaplin.
But the couple’s associates used the rest to pay their mortgages or spend thousands on luxury items by designers such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton and Apple gadgets. One of the perpetrators spent £200 at the London Parachute School.
For several months after December 2011, Tipler, 32, substituted account numbers of pharmaceutical firms who were due payment for cancer drugs with the details of men recruited by Chaplin.
At one point a firm threatened to stop supplying medication after failing to receive payment because of their actions, Southwark Crown Court heard. Ahead of sentencing Judge Anthony Leonard QC said the fraud was “highly professional” and “brilliant”.
He added: “ I’ve not seen a better one, frankly, in the course of dealing with quite a few years of fraud.”
While some of the money was recovered after the deception was detected, the hospital remains £310,000 out of pocket, prosecutor Anthony Hucklesby said.
The mother-of-two of Carshalton in Surrey, who worked at the hospital for 10 years, was found guilty after a trial of conspiracy to defraud.
Chaplin, 33, also from Carshalton, was convicted of the same charge and a count of conspiracy to money launder.
Six other people, who Chaplin recruited to the fraud, are also being sentenced for their roles. They will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court today.