|Lisa Green & Alan Hodge|
An NHS Trust manager responsible for kidney dialysis equipment at three hospital’s awarded his cronies lucrative contracts during a £573,000 fraud, a court heard today.
Renal technologist Alan Hodge, 53, received “kick-backs” for paying his pals NHS money in return for either non-existent or exorbitant work, the Croydon Crown Court jury were told.
He was employed by Epsom and St. Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs services from Epsom Hospital; St. Helier Hospital and Sutton Hospital.
Hodge, of Aulton Way, Sutton has pleaded not guilty to one count of defrauding the Trust between November 1, 2007 and October 9, 2013.
Company director Pierre Allen, 54, of Canon Farm Cottages, Canons Lane, Burgh Heath, Tadworth - boss of Main Contractors - and plumber Stephen Thompson, 47, of Warnham Road, Furnace Green, Crawley deny the same charge.
Hodge’s partner, Lisa Green, 49, is accused of laundering the money and has pleaded not guilty to converting criminal property between January 1, 2011 and October 9, 2013.
Prosecutor Mr. Stephen Hopper said Main Contractors was specifically set-up to receive money defrauded from the Trust and financed matchday trips to Stamford Bridge for Chelsea FC fans Hodge and Allen.
NHS money was also blown on a Butlins holiday, golf days and £1,200 worth of flights to Geneva.
“This case involves a fraud against the Trust,” he explained. “Hodge is the central figure, responsible for kidney dialysis equipment at three hospitals and patients’ homes.
“He engaged contractors to install and maintain equipment and was authorised by the NHS to make payments.”
The fraud was exposed when Hodge was suspended over an unrelated matter on October 8, 2013 and external payments immediately plunged by 50%, said Mr. Hopper.
“An investigation revealed a large number of invoices had been paid for work either not done at all or for prices that were excessive.
“Hodge was exploiting, abusing his position to employ friends of his who overcharged or had not done the work at all.
“Hodge profited from kick-backs from those contracts.”
Mains Contractors received £400,00 and SJ Thompson Plumbing received £130,000.
A third company, TWS Southern, run by Phillip Jones, 50, of Bullbeggars Lane, Godstone received £43,000.
Jones is not currently on trial, but the prosecution say TWS received fraudulent money.
“Green was laundering some of the money generated in the fraud,” explained Mr. Hopper.
“She took payments into her Lloyds account from Main Contractors, SJ Thompson Plumbing and TWS. Her account was a buffer account.”
Two months after opening a bank account in February, 2010 Main Contractors began receiving payments authorised by Hodge.
“This company was set up with the prime purpose of receiving money from the NHS Trust.
“Allen was a figurehead, a front and the pair previously had a dialysis business for visiting tourists and had a property company.
“Some of the NHS money was used to pay for property developments.
“They were two men cooking up a scam to divert money from the NHS.”
The trial is expected to last six weeks…….