Conman who earned £1mil running two NHS Trusts can KEEP money

Conman who earned £1million running two NHS Trusts after lying about PhD can KEEP his ill-gotten gains after judge ruled he ‘properly performed his duties’ and gave ‘full value’ for his salary

  • Jon Andrewes, 65, told ‘staggering lies’ about his qualifications and experience 
  • Andrewes was appointed chairman of two NHS Trusts’ in Torbay and Cornwall
  • When his lies emerged he was sacked and pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud 

Jon Andrewes (pictured) told ‘staggering lies’ about his academic qualifications and experience to win a string of high-flying posts, the Court of Appeal in London heard.

A conman who chaired two NHS trusts after lying about having a PHD has been allowed to keep his £1million of ill-gotten gains after a judge ruled he gave ‘full value’ for his salary.

Jon Andrewes told ‘staggering lies’ about his academic qualifications and experience to win a string of high-flying posts, the Court of Appeal in London heard.

His dishonesty got him a £75,000 a year job as chief executive of the St Margaret’s Hospice, a charity based in Taunton, where he worked for over a decade.

And he went on to be appointed chairman of the Torbay NHS Care Trust and the Royal Cornwall NHS Hospital Trust.

Andrewes, 65, from Totnes, lived a lie for years until the truth finally emerged in 2015 and he was sacked and prosecuted.

He later pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and one of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception and was jailed for two years.

The judge who locked him up said he had lived an ‘outwardly prestigious’ lifestyle purely on the basis of his ‘staggering lies’.

Andrewes’ disgrace was complete in July 2018 when a judge ruled that all the money he earned from his deception amounted to proceeds of crime.

Andrewes, 65, went on to be appointed chairman of the Royal Cornwall NHS Hospital Trust. Pictured: The Royal Cornwall Hospital

After tax, he was found to have benefitted from crime to the tune of over £640,000 but, by then, most of the money had been spent.

Andrewes had every penny he had left – more than £96,000 – confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

But, overturning the bill, Appeal Court judges said he had in effect been punished twice for the same crimes.

Lord Justice Davis ruled that, having ‘properly performed his duties’ for 10 years, he had given ‘full value’ for the salary and benefits he received.

When applying for the hospice job in 2004, Andrewes claimed to have joint honours and master of philosophy degrees from Bristol University.

He said he had an MBA from Edinburgh University, a PhD from Plymouth University and an advanced diploma in accounting.

Andrewes was also appointed chairman of the Torbay NHS Care Trust

But Lord Justice Davis, who was sitting with Mrs Justice Andrews and Judge Richard Marks QC, said: ‘None of this was true.’

Giving details of his experience, Andrewes said he had been seconded to the Home Office and worked as CEO and MD of two charities.

But the judge added: ‘The actuality was very different’.

He was a social worker for 20 years and, although he held a senior post with a charity for a year, the dates did not match his CV.

There was no record of him every having worked for the other charity, let alone becoming its MD.

After two years in the hospice job, Andrewes demanded that staff address him as ‘Dr Andrewes’.

Using that title and repeating his lies, he applied for paid positions with the two NHS trusts, rising to chair of both of them.

Crown lawyers argued that every penny he made over the 10-year period, net of tax, ‘represented the proceeds of criminality’.

But for his serial dishonesty he would never have obtained any of the high-flying posts, said barrister, Martin Evans QC.

Upholding Andrewes’ appeal, however, Lord Justice Davis said he was not alleged to have led ‘a criminal lifestyle’.

He added: ‘It is essential to bear in mind the fundamental point that a confiscation order is not designed to be a punishment.’

Even if he still had the money, it would make ‘no sense’ to strip Andrewes’ of all his earnings over the 10-year period as if he had not done a stroke of work.

The thought that a shelf-stacker who lied on his CV about his criminal record might have to pay back his entire earnings was ‘unappealing’.

The judge ruled: ‘Andrewes is to be taken as having over the years given full value, in terms of the services he provided, to the hospice and trusts in return for the remuneration which he obtained.

‘Throughout, as is to be taken, he properly performed his duties…whilst he had obtained the positions dishonestly, they were positions which he was otherwise lawfully entitled to hold.’

Through his work, he had already made ‘full restoration’ of the money he received and to also hit him with a confiscation order ‘would involve a double penalty,’ the judge concluded.

Giving guidance for the future, Lord Justice Davis said prosecutors ‘may need to reflect long and hard’ before seeking confiscation orders against those who get jobs by lying on their CVs.

The ‘disproportionate’ confiscation order, which totalled £96,737, was overturned.

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