Yorkshire woman stole nearly £600,000 from GP surgery she managed

A woman from Yorkshire stole nearly £600,000 from the GP surgery that she managed.

Carolyn Lightwing was sentenced at York Crown Court. Photo provided by North Yorkshire Police.

Carolyn Lightwing, 55, of St Mary’s York, transferred more than £595,000 from the Elvington Medical Practice's accounts into her own.

As the practice manager, she was in charge of the suppliers’ invoices and had access to the practice bank accounts.

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She transferred the money into her personal bank accounts while falsely claiming to be a supplier to the surgery.

She covered her tracks by taking money from one year’s accounts to balance the previous year’s.

Discrepancies in the accounts came to light in 2017 once Mrs Lightwing was no longer employed by the practice and was no longer able to manipulate the accounts.

All the money has been paid back to the practice by Mrs Lightwing who said that she took the money to cover bills and intended to pay it back.

Lightwing pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position at York Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, June 18.

She was jailed for two years at York Crown Court on Friday, July 12.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Sarah Burton, said: “This was a massive breach of trust by the defendant and it has had a profound effect on everyone at the surgery.

“Thankfully the money has since been repaid in full and now that justice has been done, I hope that the staff are able to put this difficult time behind them and continue their vital role in our communities without the distraction that this audacious case has caused.”

Speaking on behalf of the doctors and staff, Mrs Abigail Holdstock, practice manager, said: “’The partners and staff of Elvington Medical Practice were shocked and upset on learning of the crime committed by their trusted, former employee and work colleague.

"The partners have assisted the police with their investigation of the crime since it was discovered in November 2017. As far as the partners are aware, there has been no compromise to patient care as a result of Mrs Lightwing’s fraud.

“The partners now wish to move on from what has been a very distressing chapter in the practice’s history.”