A nurse, who lied about being a doctor on his CV, swindled the NHS out of almost £350,000 by claiming fake expenses.
Phillip Hufton pretended to have a PhD, a master’s degree and five other diplomas in order to get a job at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT).
In reality, the 52-year-old, from Cheadle Hume in Cheshire, only actually held a Bachelor of Nursing Degree.
Once he got the job, Hufton then went on several imaginary business trips, faking his expenses and using the money to fund his lavish lifestyle for 17 months.
He was sacked in January 2016 after an internal investigation discovered numerous discrepancies in his work time and expenses.
In one instance, he was found to have run up a £9,000 invoice bill for a fake work trip to refugee camps in Amman, Jordan, when he was actually holidaying in the US.
Hufton had even emailed a photo of a refugee camp, found on Google, to a colleague with the caption ‘off to the office’.
He also set up a fake email account to authorise £13,000 of expenses while on the made up trip.
While in December 2015 and off with an ‘illness’, Hufton booked a flight to Doha for a four-day trip that cost the trust £2,837.
CPFT had hired Hufton at as a business development manager to promote the trust’s business in the Middle East.
He worked at Fulbourn Hospital from September 2014 to January 2016.
Cambridge Crown Court heard how he had told CPFT colleagues that he had cancer and took time off for surgery that never took place.
He also claimed to have been in the army where he saved ‘countless lives in the UN’ and owned photos of himself wearing fake medals which he would show off.
At a previous court hearing, Hufton pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation on the basis that the financial benefit to him was only £173,000 and not the full amount of £349,383.
‘In interview with myself and other officers, Hufton initially stated all of this was a big misunderstanding,’ Sergeant Andy Denzey of Cambridgeshire Police said on November 22.
‘However, over the next hour and a half he eventually admitted that he lied about almost everything. His lies were almost beyond belief.
‘He admitted to claiming to be in Jordan whilst actually on holiday in America with his family. He admitted to lying about having cancer.
‘Hufton caused a great inconvenience and a large amount of stress to all involved, turning his hand to criminality in order to fund his personal life.’
Hufton was jailed for five years.
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust said: “The actions of Phillip Hufton were reprehensible. He had come to the Trust highly recommended and with good references.
‘However, at a time when NHS finances are under severe pressure, he decided to defraud taxpayers’ money for personal gain.
‘He also sought to win the trust of staff with his series of lies.
‘He may well have committed further crimes if hadn’t been for the diligence of colleagues who raised initial concerns, and our internal investigators who then alerted Cambridgeshire Constabulary.
‘We would like to thank police for their support and the painstaking investigation they undertook, and the sentence given to Phillip Hufton is entirely appropriate.’