A former NHS executive and chartered accountant from Manchester who siphoned almost £1.4 million from several companies, including those that care for vulnerable adults, has been jailed following an extensive six-year investigation.
Stephen Day,53, of Quiech Mill, Blairgowrie, Scotland, but formally of Aberford, Leeds, was handed the 11 years and 5 months sentence at Leeds Crown Court today after pleading guilty to 12 counts of fraud offences and theft. Day is also subject to a director’s disqualification for nine years.
Day, who professed to be a financial turnaround consultant and accountant, would advise businesses on their finances, and worked under more than 20 company names, including Entrusted Group Ltd of The Flint Glass Works, Jersey Street, Manchester.
GMP’s Specialist Fraud Investigation Team became aware of fraudulent activity between August 2011 and September 2014 after reports were passed to the force’s Economic Crime Unit by the victims.
Alarm bells rang when several companies raised concerns about money disappearing under Day’s management. This included firms such as Asia House Management Company Ltd, which is a residential management company established for an apartment block in Manchester City Centre, Entrusted Health Ltd, Shaping Health International Ltd, Avida Care Limited, which provides home visits to vulnerable adults, and The Royal Bank of Scotland.
While in a position of trust and power within these companies, Day would take over financial control of their bank accounts, and large sums of money would go missing. It was in fact being paid into Day’s own company accounts instead of suppliers, and Day used false narratives to explain how they got there, including using fake financial accounts to provide to directors at annual general meetings. £1,382,244 million was taken in total.
Whilst carrying out these enquiries officers learned that the NHS Counter Fraud Authority had uncovered that Day had also become a financial director for numerous Trusts at the same time, and failed to disclose it to his employers. This included Merseyside Commissioning Support Unit and South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula CCG, both of whom were paying him a full-time salary. The NHSCFA investigated, and co-ordinated with Greater Manchester Police and the CPS, to bring these charges forward to accurately represent his full range of offending.
Not only did Day target businesses, but also those he befriended in order to take advantage of. Despite being in a relationship with two men already, Day struck up a romantic connection with a woman claiming he was a widower, and over the course of several months in 2014 while under police investigation, convinced her under false pretences to pay for meals and transfer him money to the total of around £5,000.
It’s not clear exactly where Day spent his ill-gotten gains, but detectives do know he purchased several properties in Scotland, took a holiday in Dubai and he was also in the middle of refurbishing an 45 acre estate in Scotland which had its own salmon fishing area on the River Annan. It’s believed he’s has full refurbished another property in South Africa too, in order to let out as a holiday rental.
Detective Sergeant Stuart Donohue, who has led on the investigation since the beginning, said: “This has been the most painstaking investigation of my career to date.
“Around 160 evidence boxes, recovered from his estate and office, which are full to the brim with folders have been scrupulously examined by the team. And this doesn’t include all the interview transcripts, digital files and endless hours spent tracing his movements.
“Day was a career-criminal. He built his life on cheating and stealing. He was very meticulous in what he did and would often move money to and from so many accounts that it was difficult to distinguish the route it had taken. He did this to try and trip us up and confuse us, but we never doubted that we would uncover the extent of his deceit and greed.
“Every step of the way he has lied and tried to find any way to avoid going to prison. He has created numerous deliberate delays to the prosecution, which the Police and CPS have tirelessly dealt with, and has been unwilling to fully accept his actions. But, as with all crimes, it has caught up with him today.
“Although the investigation has now closed, our work does not stop here and we will now look at a Proceeds of Crime Hearing to try and recoup some of the funds he stole to recompense his numerous victims. We’re also seeking a serious crime prevention order, to prevent further offending once he’s served his time.
“While the case has been six years for some of the agencies investigating, I would like to thank the victims in this case for their unwavering patience during what has been such a devastating crime on their businesses, and their personal futures made worse by the fact that Day was considered a friend to some, and not just a colleague.”
Richard Rippin, Head of Operations of the NHSCFA, said: “Stephen Day carried out a calculated fraud against the NHS. Any money lost to fraud effects the amount of resources the NHS has available for front line care. The money stolen by Day would have been enough to fund the annual salaries of three nurses. We are pleased that through joint working with Greater Manchester Police we were able to show the court the full extent of his offending. The NHSCFA believe that multi-agency working such as this is the best way to stamp out fraud against the public sector. If you suspect NHS fraud, please report it to us either through our online reporting form or by calling our fraud and corruption reporting line.”