A nurse who was mistakenly paid a monthly salary for 17 months after she quit her job failed to disclose the error to her former bosses. Sarah Glenys Merry stopped working at Cwm Taf University Health Board in January 2017 but was paid her monthly salary in error until May 2018. Merry, of Tylcha Wen Close, Tonyrefail, didn’t tell anyone in the NHS about the overpayments, which totalled £25,500. As the payments rolled in, she spent the money and made no attempt to inform her former employer she was still receiving a salary, a court was told.
The error came to light during a review of salary payments and the case was then referred to Counter Fraud Services for investigation. In her interviews, she said she had received the monthly salary money and knowingly spent it. Merry was given a sentence of six months in prison, suspended for 12 months. At an earlier hearing at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates Court, she pleaded guilty to theft. She was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and to attend a rehabilitation course. Cwm Taf University Health Board was given full compensation, which she will repay at a minimum of £250 per month. Prosecution costs of £360 were also awarded.
Speaking after the verdict, deputy operational fraud manager at Counter Fraud Services Wales, Cheryl Hill said:
“Sarah Merry deliberately spent NHS money that she had not earned and did not belong to her. Instead of alerting her previous NHS employers to the continued salary payment error, she decided to keep the money and spend it on herself, money which should have been spent on NHS services. The vast majority of NHS staff are honest and care greatly for their NHS, but Sarah Merry has let down her profession through her greed. NHS staff are reminded that they should always contact their employers regarding any possible salary overpayments or face the consequences if they decide to retain and spend the money.”