Mental health worker jailed for decade long fraud

A man has been found not guilty on three counts of sexual assault. Image: PA

A man has been found not guilty on three counts of sexual assault. Image: PA - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

A mental health worker who used false documents to get his job of 10 years in the NHS has been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment.

Francis Adekola, 57, of Crownmead Way, Romford, pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud by false representation, one count of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, two counts of using a false instrument and two counts of possessing identity documents with intent at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday after an investigation by NHS fraud specialists, supported by NHS Protect.

Kevin Cane, area anti-fraud manager of NHS Protect, said: “The NHS and public expect the highest standards of probity and honesty from its employees, especially those working with the vulnerable.

“Adekola’s sentence sends a message to others who might consider entering the NHS on false papers”.

During the decade he spent as a Band 3 social therapist at the Newham Centre for Mental Health, Cherry Tree Way, Adekola presented three false passports – two British and one from the Ivory Coast – to his employers as proof of his identity.

Suspicions were raised during a routine document check where copies of the passports were sent to the Home Office’s National Document Forgery Unit which confirmed all three were unreliable as evidence of Adekola’s nationality.

Further checks revealed that Adekola was a Nigerian national and had no legal right to remain or work in the UK.

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The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed that the national insurance number he provided did not exist and his national insurance card was a forgery.

Adekola, who earned nearly £300,000 over 10 years had been arrested at his workplace in January.

Zenda Butler, local counter fraud specialist, said, “Francis Adekola deceived his employer on numerous occasions and denied a legitimate applicant the opportunity of NHS employment.

“His sentencing demonstrates that seeking to exploit the NHS for personal gain will not be tolerated”.