NHS professionals—a better class of fraudster?
All professions are conspiracies against the laity
George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)
People are often taken aback when professionals are found to have perpetrated frauds. Whether it is those in the NHS, such as doctors, dentists, chemists and opticians, or in the business professions where they are expected to be trustworthy, such as accountants, lawyers and solicitors. Somehow in professions with codes of ethics and standards it is particularly shocking when a member of that profession turns out to have committed a significant fraud.
In my early days running an audit and investigative department inside Scotland Yard I used to have a fair amount of dealings with a Fraud Squad Detective Chief Inspector in charge of the public sector corruption unit, Peter Connor—although like most career detectives he had worked in other areas both in the Fraud Squad and elsewhere. Peter often wryly noted that ‘bent’ professionals were their best clients, as they were usually very articulate about the crime that they had committed and could generally be relied upon to come quietly when caught. As a former colleague of mine liked to put it, ‘fraud is a crime by appointment’. Unlike other fields where the detective would have to pursue, quite literally, the villain in question, with fraud the suspect would often simply be invited to turn up at the police station with their solicitor and be arrested by consent on arrival.
My DCI contact reckoned ...