Stockton medical secretary will have to sell home to pay back money she took from consultants

Diane Wilson.
Diane Wilson.

A medical secretary who defrauded the consultants she worked for to fund a lavish lifestyle will have to sell her home to cover the money she has been ordered to repay.

Diane Wilson was driving round in a Mercedes, spending thousands on holidays and paying for private health care as she diverted payments to the consultants into her own account.

But Wilson (54) of Laurel Drive, Stockton, near Southam, had to exchange her life of luxury for one in a prison cell after being jailed last year for a total of three years and four months.

The court heard that Wilson, who had admitted obtaining a money transfer by deception and five offences of fraud, committed over a nine-year period, had made £385,000 from her crimes.

But after an investigation into her finances, prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith said Wilson’s available assets amounted to £181,503, the bulk of which was dependent on the sale of her home.

So Judge Peter Cooke made a confiscation order for that amount under the Proceeds of Crime Act, giving Wilson three months to pay it or face a further 18 months in jail – after which she would still have to find the money.

And the judge said the money confiscated from her should be used to pay compensation to consultant surgeon Peter Binfield and Nuffield Health.

During the earlier hearing Mr Grieves-Smith explained that Wilson carried out the frauds against two consultant surgeons who had employed her in her capacity as a medical secretary.

“The trust placed in her was large, and she abused it for personal gain. It went to fund a lifestyle which included two particular cars and holidays.”

Mr Grieves-Smith said the first five offences covered a period from April 2005 to September 2012 when Wilson worked for Mr Binfield, who carried out NHS work and also had private patients.

Wilson, who worked from home and had a salary of at least £49,000, was trusted with the banking and the payment of invoices, with the consultant even signing blank cheques for her to use.

When Wilson was on holiday her role was carried out by another medical secretary, but as well as arranging payments for work that woman had undertaken, she put through false invoices for a total of £113,000 which was paid into her own account.

Eventually Mr Binfield stopped employing her because of issues over her efficiency, but in July 2011 she had written a letter to Bupa, forging his signature on it, informing them of a new account into which payments were to be made.

That was in fact Wilson’s own account, and as a result she continued receiving payments meant for him until September 2012, a total of over £111,000.

Wilson had sent a similar forged letter to Axa PPP, who ended up paying a total of £103,000 into her account.

By then she had moved on to work for another consultant, Mohammed Shahid, and repeated her frauds in a similar way, changing the account details and getting 20 payments for a total of £27,000 paid into it.

As to where the money went, Mr Grieves-Smith said that over the nine-year period Wilson had spent over £62,000 on leasing prestige cars including a BMW and a Mercedes, £21,000 on private health care and a minimum of £20,000 on holidays.

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC, when he sentenced Wilson in November, commented: “She was living a lifestyle which would otherwise have been completely beyond their means as a secretary and a police officer.”

On that occasion Jane Brady, defending, said Wilson, had complex health problems, including fibromyalgia, renal cancer, now in remission, osteoporosis, atiphospholipid syndrome, a heart disorder, and was confined to a wheelchair.

Jailing Wilson, Judge Lockhart had told her: “You were his secretary, and Mr Binfield trusted you completely, and you abused that trust year, upon year, upon year, upon year for your own gain.

“And when you left his employment, you went and began to prey on Mr Shahid, another consultant.

“This was a fraud carried out over a very substantial period of time, and there was a degree of sophistication. It was a very substantial breach of trust.