Former Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance director sentenced following fraud investigation
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A 45-year-old man from Portsmouth has been sentenced to three years and four months in prison for defrauding the Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance out of more than £1million.
Rumi Chhapia, of Lennox Road North, Southsea, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court today (Friday 5 November) having previously pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position.
The court heard how former GP Chhapia was employed as a clinical director for the Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance (PPCA) when he committed his offences, which saw him transfer money from the Alliance’s account into two of his own private accounts.
The Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance is a membership organisation made up of 13 Portsmouth-based practices which provide facilities such as GP visiting services and out of hours medical care to local patients on behalf of their registered GP.
It was heard how Chhapia defrauded the Alliance out of £1,133,704.50 over a period of 41 days (21st August 2020 until 28th September 2020) across 64 transactions whilst he had temporary access to the business’s bank account.
The company reported the loss to police in September 2020 and while Chhapia initially claimed to be a victim of hacking, he later admitted responsibility.
Chhapia attended a voluntary interview in October last year as part of an investigation conducted in partnership with the local NHS Fraud and Security Management Service, hosted by Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group.
He was today sentenced to 40 months in prison.
PC Stephen Webber, who led the investigation, said: “Today’s sentence comes after a thorough investigation by Hampshire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit, in conjunction with the local NHS Fraud and Security Management Service, hosted by Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group.
“While Chhapia initially claimed he had been the victim of hacking, he soon realised he had no choice but to admit what he had done, which was defraud more than £1million out of an organisation that invests money into developing services and equipment so that GP practices can deliver good quality care to the communities that they serve.
“Crimes such as this one are simply unacceptable and I hope this result sends a message to those who commit fraud that their actions won't go unnoticed and we will investigate.
"If you suspect someone of fraud, then please report it."