She must also carry out 150 hours community service and was ordered to compensate the NHS with £1,000 within 28 days.
Yvonne Tapuwa Tausa, 35, of Maple Street, Middlesbrough was caught after a tip-off to the NHS Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line. She was arrested in August 2009 by Cleveland Police, accompanied by NHS Counter Fraud Specialists.
She obtained an NHS Student Bursary award between 2005 and 2008 to fund her time at the University of Teesside, where she completed a degree in Social Work and Mental Health Nursing. Between 6th December 2005 and 15th August 2008 she received monthly payments totalling £24,236.40.
When Tausa applied for the bursary she gave a forged Home Office letter indicating that she had indefinite leave to remain in the UK. As enquiries with the UK Border Agency confirmed, she was not in fact eligible, having only limited leave to remain as a student with no recourse to state funds.
After graduating in April 2009 she got a job as a social worker, working for Middlesbrough Council at the James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough.
1. The NHS Counter Fraud Service (NHS CFS) – a service of the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) – was established to tackle fraud and corruption throughout the NHS and Department of Health whether it involves professionals, staff, patients or contractors. It aims to create a lasting anti-fraud culture.
2. Around 300 professionally-trained and accredited Local Counter Fraud Specialists are in place covering every health body in England and Wales.
3. The NHS CFS has a network of teams who deal with complex, high value and cross boundary NHS frauds. The potential NHS savings from completed NHS CFS investigations for 2008-09 is £9,946,030
4. In 2008-09 the NHS CFS successfully prosecuted 69 criminal cases with a 96% success rate.