Fraudster who lied about qualifications must repay £96k in wages

A builder, who got lucrative roles falsely claiming he had university degrees and remained in the positions for more than 10 years, must now pay back part of his earnings.

  • Swindler insisted that he should be referred to as “Dr”
  • He secured positions as CEO, Director and Chair 
  • Despite his lack of qualifications, “he did a good job”

A fraudster has been ordered to repay more than £96,000 in wages. Jon Andrewes successfully applied for the role of CEO at St Margaret’s Hospice, Taunton, in 2004, having claimed that he had university degrees, as well as significant relevant work experience. These claims were untrue, and he was in fact a builder. In 2006, he told staff that he had obtained a PhD from Plymouth University. This was also untrue. He insisted that he should be referred to as Dr Jon Andrewes. He remained in post until March 2015 when his employment was terminated. Using similar lies, he was appointed as a director and then Chair of the Torbay NHS Care Trust and as Chair of the Royal Cornwall NHS Hospital Trust.  

In January 2017 Andrewes pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception and two counts of fraud. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. Following his conviction, the Crown sought a confiscation order against him. Andrewes’ full net earnings during the relevant period were £643,602. The available recoverable amount, which in simple terms was the amount he still had that could be accessed, was £96,737. The judge ordered confiscation of that sum. The Court of Appeal overturned that decision so the case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled the confiscation order should stand. It held that it would be disproportionate to make a confiscation order of the full net earnings of £643,602 because, despite his lack of qualifications, Andrewes had done a good job as CEO and was regularly appraised as either strong or outstanding. 

The court ruled that the correct approach would be to confiscate the difference between the higher earnings obtained through fraud and the lower earnings that would have been obtained if there had been no fraud. As such, Andrewes would have to give up any “profit” he made through his lies, but account would be taken of the fact that his employers did receive value in the form of services rendered, in exchange for paying his salary. Applying this principled middle way, a confiscation order of £244,568 would be proportionate, but as the recoverable amount is only £96,737, a confiscation order for that amount would be the proportionate approach.  

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