Former NHS executive jailed after stealing £1.4 million from companies

  • Report by Granada Reports correspondent Amy Welch

A former NHS executive has been jailed after he stole £1.4 million from several companies - including those that care for vulnerable adults.

Stephen Day professed to be a financial turnaround consultant and accountant but instead used his position to siphon money from businesses who needed his help.

Across three years his thefts included stealing the entire maintenance fund from a block of flats - forcing residents to pay higher fees - stealing from care homes and even conning a woman he had become romantically involved with out of £5,000.

He also stole around £88,000 from the NHS - enough to fund the annual salaries of three nurses.

The 53-year-old worked under more than 20 company names, including Entrusted Group Ltd of The Flint Glass Works, Jersey Street, Manchester.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) say it became aware of him in 2014 after receiving reports of fraudulent activity - but it took six years, and 160 boxes of evidence, to bring him to justice.

Day pleaded guilty to 12 fraud offences and theft was handed 11 years and five months behind bars.

Sentencing him at Leeds Crown Court a judge told him: "there was no boundary of dishonesty that you were not prepared to cross" as he tried to evade detection at various points by falsely claiming he had cancer.

In total Day's thefts added up to £1.4 million and included stealing the entire maintenance fund from block of flats Asia House - forcing residents to pay higher fees.

The former chartered accountant from Manchester, was first brought to GMP's attention when several companies raised concerns about money disappearing under his management.

Day, would claim to advise businesses on their finances, but, once in a position of trust and power, would take over control of their bank accounts, sending large sums of money to himself.

When questioned on why it was in his business accounts and not suppliers, Day created stories, including using fake financial accounts to provide to directors at annual general meetings.

During the investigation by police it was also discovered by the NHS Counter Fraud Authority that Day had failed to disclose he was financial director for numerous NHS Trusts.

Those targeted were Merseyside Commissioning Support Unit and South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula CCG.

His deception cost the NHS a total of about £88,000 - enough to fund the annual salaries of three nurses.

He also targeted individuals to steal money from.

Despite being in a relationship with two men Day began another with a woman claiming he was a widower.

Over the course of several months in 2014 - while under police investigation - he convinced her to pay for meals and transfer him £5,000.

What did Day spend the money on?

Police say they does not know exactly what Day spent his money on but he bought several properties in Scotland including one which had 45 acres of land and its own lake.

He also went on expensive holidays to Dubai and had refurbished another property in South Africa with a view to renting it out and making even more money.

Officers say they will now look to hold a proceeds of crime hearing to try and claim back some of that money back.

Day was in the middle of refurbishing an 45 acre estate in Scotland which had its own salmon fishing area on the River Annan.

The judge said: "There was no boundary of dishonesty that you were not prepared to cross. The consequences have been enormous both financially and in other respects, including businesses losing viability and being wound up, people losing their jobs, reputational damage, loss of credit rating and people being unable to sell their homes.

"In short you have caused misery, hardship and anxiety to many.

"This was industrial scale dishonesty purely to fulfil your own greed."

Detective Sergeant Stuart Donohue, who has led on the investigation since the beginning, said: "Every step of the way Day 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."

He added: "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."

Richard Rippin, Head of Operations of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, 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."