Belfast Telegraph

GP surgery manager jailed for £8k fraud

BY ALAN ERWIN

A practice manager at a doctors surgery who swindled more than £8,000 has been sentenced to three months in prison.

Jailing 48-year-old Heather Coard at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Kinney said that, despite her claims she did not think she was doing anything wrong: "I cannot and do not accept that she did not realise what she was doing was dishonest. She knew exactly what she was doing."

Last June at the end of her two-week trial Coard, from Tullyard Way in Belfast, was convicted of six charges of obtaining a money transfer by deception and 13 further offences of committing fraud by abuse of position on dates between May 29, 2006 and October 11, 2008.

The jury heard that while working as manager at the Rowantree Medical Practice in south Belfast, Coard changed the details on a number of cheques to pay herself various sums ranging from £200 up to £725.

Over the two-year period, Coard stole £8,109.

She had claimed she was simply reimbursing herself for money which she had spent on equipment and other materials for the practice, was not being dishonest and did not think she had done anything wrong.

Jailing her, Judge Kinney took a different view however and told Coard she had breached the trust the practice doctors had placed in her.

Belfast Telegraph

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