Moonlighting Sandwell Council worker with two jobs is jailed for two years
A full-time time Sandwell Council worker who pulled off a £110,000 fraud while moonlighting for the health service for eight years was starting a two-year jail sentence today.
Peter Walker secretly worked 22-hours a week through Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as a counsellor with the Black Country NHS Foundation Trust while also contracted to put in 37-hours-a-week as either a learning development officer or talent development consultant at Sandwell Council.
The 47-year-old father of two covered his tracks by submitting false time sheets, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
The racket continued from 2006 to 2014 when he took voluntary redundancy – and a £29,000 pay off – and left his council job but it was some time later before the fraud was discovered by chance when the local authority and the NHS took part in a data matching exercise. He was immediately sacked by the NHS.
Walker received £364,000 gross pay, including pension, National Insurance and voluntary redundancy payments, from Sandwell Council while holding down the double roles - with an estimated £220,000 of this being ‘earned’ when he was actually working for the health service, explained Mr Mark Jackson, prosecuting.
The defendant, who pleaded guilty to fraud on a basis not accepted by the prosecution, accepted he had not worked for the council when contracted to do so but insisted ‘every second’ of the 37-hour week had been completed by working evenings and weekends throughout the scam. There had been no complaints.
Judge Barry Berlin told him: “You could not possibly have done both jobs at the same time. Corners must have been cut. I appreciate this was not picked up by the local authority but that is their problem. You deliberately deceived your employers, abusing the trust put in you.”
Walker, of Vicarage Street, Oldbury, was not desk bound in his council job, which involved him supervising social worker university students on placements during their degree course.
He was a social worker with the local authority for six years until he decided to change tack in 2006 and applied for their learning development officer post and the NHS counsellor position. He was offered - and accepted - both without informing either employer.
The judge sent Walker, who was of previous good character, to prison because the fraud had been ‘too long and involved too much money’ for the term to be suspended.
Walker now faces a £110,000 Proceeds of Crime prosecution by the local authority.
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