A woman who provided false identity documents to secure work as an NHS Student Nurse has been jailed for 16 months.
Following a joint investigation by NHS Protect and Home Office Immigration Service, 32-year-old Adaku Okafor of Downend Rd, Bristol, was found guilty of fraud at Bristol Crown Court.
Okafor, who is originally from Nigeria, secured NHS employment for eight years using forged and stolen identity documents, false employment references and fake EU documentation.
Okafor was also awarded an £13,000 NHS student bursary to fund her nursing training.
In addition to the 16 months in jail, Judge Harington ordered a victim surcharge and recommended deportation.
He said: “… the Defendant devised a sophisticated method of remaining in UK… The use of false identity documents is taken extremely seriously by Court”.
During the investigation between NHS Protect and Home Office Immigration Service, passports and other identity documents were tested and found to be false, forged and improperly obtained.
Ian Gilpin, anti-fraud specialist at NHS Protect said: “Through effective joint working with the Home Office Immigration, NHS Protect was able to uncover the full extent of the Okafor deception. As a result of adopting these false identities, she was able to deceive the NHS and several other government departments.
“By taking up a university place, she denied genuine applicants the chance to start their studies and embark upon careers in nursing”.
Kelly MacDonald, Home Office immigration investigator said: “We worked closely with NHS Protect on this case to bring this criminal to justice. We know it’s only a small minority of people who commit identity fraud, but our investigators work tirelessly to root out those who are out to steal from taxpayers”.
Okafor denied working for University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and also denies using an invalid Nigerian passport to work for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust between February 2012 and February 2015.