27 Apr 2017

£92k tax credit fraud nurse struck off - six years later

Cheryl Henwood, married to a policeman, went all the way in resisting the tax credit fraud charges against her. She declined to answer questions after her arrest and then pleaded not guilty at her trial. She was detected in March 2011 but her case only came to court in September 2013, when she was jailed for a year.

At the time this seemed like a long delay. But only now has she been banned from nursing!

A benefit cheat nurse who splashed out on luxury living while pretending to be a struggling single mother has lost her career after being banned from the profession.

Cheryl Fiona Henwood, of Heswall, Wirral, was jailed for a year after she scammed more than £90,000 in taxpayers’ money.

Despite being described as a “competent and caring clinician”, she has now been struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

A disciplinary panel in London heard the district nurse claimed she was bringing up her children on her own, while in fact she was married and living with her policeman husband. The fraud spanned seven years, during which she also claimed tax credits at a higher rate than she was entitled to for one of her children.

An investigation by HMRC revealed Henwood had spent money on expensive holidays to Florida and Dubai, owned a jetski and bought a pony for one of her children.

She was locked up after being found guilty of 12 counts of being knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity at Liverpool Crown Court in 2013.

Henwood repaid the money, plus extra for inflation, before being sentenced. But the NMC panel said it considered that, by committing the offences, she had shown a “disregard for the laws of the country” and brought the nursing profession into disrepute.

Lawyers acting for Henwood asked the panel to impose a five-year order of conditions on her nursing practice, which would allow her to continue with her job at a nursing home. They said she had worked at the home for two years without further incident, and the panel heard she had been trusted with money and valuables in her role.

But, removing her from the nursing register, the panel concluded she could not continue working as a nurse because of her “serious dishonesty”.

Announcing the decision, an NMC spokesman said: “Members of the public would not expect a nurse who enjoys a privileged standing in society to defraud the public purse in excess of £92,000. Such behaviour demonstrates a significant departure for many years from the standards expected of a registered nurse.”

He added: “The panel concluded that nothing short of a striking-off order would be sufficient. Such a sanction is necessary to mark the serious nature of the dishonesty and to send a clear message to the public and the profession about the standards of conduct and behaviour expected of a registered nurse. By defrauding the public purse for a period of seven years, the reputation of the profession has been adversely affected. Members of the public would be appalled to find that a registered nurse, a professional in a position of trust in society, would behave in such a way.”


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