Pharmacy hit by invoice fraud
A pharmacist from Wales has pleaded guilty to a charge of false accounting after he was found to have issued bogus invoices worth more than £2,000.
According to the South Wales Echo, Andrew Neil Phillips, who worked at Andrew Phillips Pharmacy in Rhondda, falsified a total of 33 prescription invoices in an effort to recover money he was owed.
He claimed that the pharmacy owed him £2,295 in expenses, so he tried to make up the losses by issuing the bogus receipts for prescriptions he had allegedly dispensed to customers.
Specifically, these were FP34C invoices, which pharmacists send to the National Health Service whenever they hand out medicines to patients.
Kevin McCartney, the defence solicitor acting on behalf of Mr Phillips, said the idea for the false invoices had been given to his client by a colleague.
He insisted that although his actions were "stupid" Mr Philips had never set out to make money. Instead he was simply trying to get back what was owed to him.
Jonathan Holmes, prosecuting solicitor for the Department for Work and Pensions, said: "Evidence obtained showed of those 33 bogus prescriptions made, 18 had been deleted from the computer system to conceal them.
"This was a dishonest attempt by Mr Phillips to recoup money that he was owed."
The amount claimed through the false invoices seems incredibly small compared to other high-profile invoice fraud cases that have emerged in recent months.
For example, a former employee at Lloyds TSB was charged in May with submitting false invoices over a period of four years, defrauding her employer out of £2.4m.
Nonetheless, invoice fraud of any kind can have an extremely negative impact on businesses, and while there is no foolproof method of preventing it, processes such as e-invoicing and purchase-to-pay can help to provide a more transparent overview of transactions.