THREE men have been jailed in Leeds for defrauding the NHS out of a staggering £3.4 million - and living a life of luxury on the proceeds.
Described as the “initiator”, Neil Wood, 41, used his position as an NHS manager to outsource management training work to Huw Grove, 44, and his company, The Learning Grove.
Wood and his wife Lisa, 40, who was given a 16 month suspended sentence for money laundering, were accused by friends of leading a “champagne lifestyle” through their appropriation of NHS funds.
A third defendant, Terence Dixon, 46, received an admin fee of £18,600 for which no work was required - a transaction Dixon “gloated” over and said: “It’s better than working for a living”.
The court also heard that Wood organised lavish away days for his management team including a weekend away in London where they stayed in the Mandarin Hotel in Hyde Park, had lunch at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen and enjoyed a private dining experience at Gordon Ramsey’s Maze restaurant.
Neil Wood, from Leeds, pleaded guilty and, sentencing him to four years and eight months, Judge James Spencer said he had an affection for an “ostentatious lifestyle”.
He said: “You liked to be the man with money, you liked to show it off, you liked to show it around. The fraud started in a small way but it grew and grew. You were able to enrich yourself. Your glorification of it was squalid.”
Huw Grove, from Bristol, was found guilty by a jury and was told he had a “leading role” in the conspiracy. He was jailed for four years.
Both were disqualified as directors for six years.
Terence Dixon, from Monmouth, Wales was also found guilty by a jury and was sentenced to 12 months. Lisa Wood, from Leeds, also pleaded guilty and received a 16-month sentence suspended for two years.