Time sheet scam porter is ordered to pay back £4000

Steven Kerr outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Toby Williams
Steven Kerr outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Toby Williams
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A SENIOR hospital porter at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary falsified his timesheets to claim £4000 of wages for hours he never worked.

Steven Kerr, 42, was contracted to work as a Patient Movement Portering Manager during fixed daytime hours from Monday to Friday.

But hospital bosses became suspicious when they noticed that he had added weekend and night shifts to his timesheets on a computer database.

NHS Scotland’s Counter Fraud Services team launched a probe – and found that Kerr had altered his shifts more than 80 times to claim additional wages for antisocial hours.

He was paid £2435.90 for 582 hours which he did not work between August 2012 and January 2013, while investigators also found that he made false claims for working a further 401 hours of overtime.

Kerr, of Gracemount, admitted obtaining £4000 by fraud when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month.

He returned to the dock for sentencing last week, where his defence agent Paul Dunne described him as at “low risk of re-offending”.

Mr Dunne said: “He needs to spend some time considering his actions and the consequences of his actions, and taking a bit of a reality check.”

He said that Kerr, who was dismissed by NHS Lothian when the allegations came to light, needed to be “honest with himself” about what he had done and was keen to compensate the health service for the money he had taken.

After reading a social work report which had been presented to her, Sheriff Kathrine MacKie said: “There seems to be quite a lot of self-justification.”

She added: “I feel compensation is required.

“Having heard what’s been said on your behalf, there’s an alternative to custody.”

Sheriff MacKie ordered Kerr to complete 237 hours of unpaid work within a year, and to pay £4000 in compensation to the NHS at a rate of £100 a month.

Fraser Paterson, NHS Scotland’s national counter fraud team manager, welcomed the sentence.

He said: “Steven Kerr deliberately falsified information in order to obtain payment for which he was not entitled.

“This crime had a significant financial impact on the health board concerned.

“Counter Fraud Services will continue to work in partnership with all health boards in Scotland to prevent, detect and investigate crime of this nature and will pursue criminals whenever they are identified.”

Alan Boyter, director of human resources and organisational development at NHS Lothian, added: “If people defraud the NHS, they are taking away a resource that would otherwise be of benefit to patients and therefore we take any form of criminal and fraudulent activity within our organisation extremely seriously and we worked closely with Police Scotland and Counter Fraud Services throughout the case.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com