Former Christow man jailed for £1m fraud

By Crown Court Reporter in Crime

A youth worker who earned more than a million pounds by lying his way into three senior NHS jobs has been jailed.

Jon Andrewes became chief executive of a hospice and then chairman of two NHS trusts after inventing a string of completely bogus degrees and qualifications.

His decade of serial dishonesty ended when he was jailed for two years by a judge who told him his lies had been ’staggering’ and had undermined public trust in the NHS.

He earned more than £100,000 a year in top jobs at the St Margaret’s Hospice in Somerset, the Torbay Care Trust, and the Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust, where he worked until his fraud was unmasked in 2015.

Andrewes styled himself as Dr Andrewes and falsified not only his educational qualifications but also his work experience with a series of charities.

He claimed to have been managing director of a youth charity called Groundworks when in fact he had spent most of his career as a probation officer, customs officer or youth worker.

In reality he did not even have a degree. His only formal qualification was a Higher Education Certificate in Social Work from Bristol University.

In a series of job applications he provided CVs which claimed her had a PhD in Leadership and Success from Plymouth University, where he said he had written a thesis called Women in Power.

He lied about having a Masters in Business Administration from Edinburgh University and degree from Bristol. He also claimed to have a Diploma in Advanced Accountancy.

Andrewes, aged 63, of Flood Street, Totnes, admitted obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception and two counts of fraud and was jailed for two years by Judge Geoffrey Mercer, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him:"For a period of over ten years your outwardly prestigious life was based on lies; more accurately a series of staggering lies.

"They were repeated lies about your education and employment, your background and experience. They were lies by which you obtained responsible positions which you probably, if not certainly, would not have obtained otherwise.

"They were positions in which honesty and integrity were essential qualities. I sentence you on the basis that you worked hard in all the posts which you obtained dishonestly and achieved success in them.

"Even on that basis, it does not take away from the seriousness of these offences and the criminality which lies behind them.

"The level of dishonesty, the extent of the deception in this case, and the effect on the organisations you deceived means only a prison sentence is appropriate.

"You received income you should not have received totalling more than £1 million over ten years, but it would be wrong to say that was the loss in this case.

"Your dishonesty denied others the positions you obtained. Above all what you did meant you were performing responsible roles which you should not have been performing.

"That causes real damage to public confidence in the organisations you deceived."

Mr Cameron Brown, prosecuting, said Andrewes claimed to have a degree and doctorate when he got the first of his jobs at St Margaret’s Hospice.

He provided more false details when he used this job as a springboard to apply for the chairmanships at the NHS Trusts at Torbay and the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Mr Brown said:”In general terms this case relates to the defendant’s deliberate misrepresenting applications for employment in relation to two parties.”

Police were called in when questions were raised about his background when he was chairman of the Cornish trust. His former home at Christow was raided and the false CVs seized.

Miss Ros Collins, defending, said Andrewes was ‘extremely regretful and remorseful at his sheer stupidity in fabricating his educational qualifications.

She said his work had been so good that none of his employers had suffered by employing him.

She said:“He has every respect for his former employers. He is very distressed for causing them any embarrassment. He has been loyal to the caring profession for many, many years.”