A service user who was convicted of defrauding the health service by claiming over £9,000 in false expenses has been handed a 4 month custodial sentence at Enniskillen Magistrates Court.

At a previous court hearing Vincent Barlow (53) of Florencecourt, Enniskillen was found guilty of fraud by false representation and resisting police after dishonestly claiming travel expenses from the Western Health and Social Care Trust.

A Counter Fraud investigation established that between January 2013 and April 2015 Barlow, who was availing of the Hospital Travel Cost Scheme, had submitted around 250 false claims for journeys from his home to the South West Acute Hospital by presenting fictitious receipts from a taxi firm.

Donna Scott, Assistant Director of Counter Fraud and Probity Services, Business Services Organisation, said: “Vincent Barlow’s actions were blatantly fraudulent and at a time when health service budgets face significant challenges any loss of resources to fraud is going to impact on services. In this case the amount of money dishonestly obtained could have been used for 10 cataract eye procedures.”

“This sentence should send a clear message that fraud against the health service will not be tolerated.”

Notes to editors:

1. Vincent Barlow was found guilty of one count of Fraud by False Representation contrary to Section 2 of the Fraud Act (2006) and one count of Obstructing Police, contrary to Section 66 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998.

2. Counter Fraud Services are responsible for the investigation of all cases of suspected fraud across Health and Social Care, Northern Ireland.

3. To report an incident of suspected fraud, please call the HSC Fraud Hotline on 0800 096 33 96 or send a report online at https://cfps.hscni.net/

4. You can follow Counter Fraud Services on Facebook at BSO Counter Fraud Services or on Twitter @bsocfs.

4. Media enquiries about this press release to DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0074, out of office hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.

5. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt