15 charged after inquiry into '£12 million fraud'

By PA News Agency

15 charged after inquiry into '£12 million fraud'

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Fifteen suspects have been charged after an inquiry into an alleged £12 million fraud against public and private bodies, including NHS trusts and the government of Guernsey.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the so-called "divert fraud" was alleged to have been committed against mainly public bodies between January 2011 and July 2012.

It is alleged that the organisations were contacted by people masquerading as legitimate construction companies, who then provided false bank details for payments.

The suspects were charged after an inquiry involving the Economic Crime Unit of Lincolnshire Police, supported by NHS Protect and colleagues from Guernsey Police.

The investigation, codenamed Operation Tarlac, was launched in September 2011 when Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust reported being the victim of fraud.

Further inquiries centred on other NHS trusts and public bodies throughout the UK, and the States of Guernsey Government.

Nine people charged with conspiracy to defraud between January 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012, have been named by police as Oluwatoyin Allison, 48, from London; Arif Habib, 54, from Glasgow; Asif Habib, 51, from Dubai; Imtiaz Khoda, 42, also living in Dubai; Mohammad Nadeem, 31, from Worcester; Abdul Naeem, 33, also from Worcester; Kalpesh Patel, 43, from Dubai; Monica Thomson, 38, from Airdrie in Scotland, and Stephen Tyndale, 45, from London.

The defendants and a further five people have also been charged with conspiracy to launder criminal property between the same period.

The further defendants are Abdul Ghaffar, 66, from Worcester; Tariq Khan, 33, of Dubai; Zahid Muhammed, 46, from Glasgow; Shazia Nisa, 33, from the West Midlands, and Yagnesh Patel, 44, from Middlesex.

A fifteenth defendant, Oghogho Ehanire, 41, from Preston, has been charged with one offence of entering into an arrangement to launder criminal property.

Clare Tripcony, specialist fraud prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "I have authorised charges of conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to launder money and entering an arrangement to launder criminal property.

"In total, fifteen people are being charged with a variety of these offences.

"The decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute."

The defendants will appear at Lincoln Magistrates' Court tomorrow to answer the charges.