An auxiliary nurse who was bullied by her husband into stealing £50,000 from the NHS has avoided jail.
Harban Dhaliwal, 54, was handed a two year sentence, suspended for 12 months,for submitting timesheets for over 230 shifts she did not work.
Dhaliwal, from Cross Road, Foleshill, Coventry, appeared at Warwick Crown Court on Friday (13/7) after she made false claims totalling £49,878 when she was working at the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, in Nuneaton, West Mids.
In January 2016 an investigation revealed, between April 2014 and December 2015, she had claimed for 242 shifts when she had only worked ten.
Judge Sylvia de Bertodano said: “It is quite clear from what I have read that you spent many, many years in an abusive relationship, both physically and emotionally.
“It was your husband who had control of the family finances and of the account into which this money went.
“I accept you have not benefited personally at all from this offending.
“I have no hesitation in saying you were not the main decision-maker for your family, and I have no difficulty in accepting the basis of plea that you were effectively doing this under direction.”
“It is extraordinary that it’s so easy for an employee to make false claims.”
“Two-and-a-half years ago it became clear that you, for some time, had been claiming for hours you had not worked.
“You had claimed almost £50,000 to which you were not entitled.
“That money came from the NHS, which is an institution of which British people are rightly proud and very protective.
“It is under threat through spending crises, so when money is stolen from it, it is a very serious offence indeed.
Kathryn Hirst, defending, said: “This is a theft from the NHS which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, and which is the system most of us rely on for our health care in this country.
“She talks about being bullied and abused by her husband.
“He was in control of her finances,on three occasions when it was said Dhaliwal had called the police to make complaints about his behaviour towards her.
“Her husband works as a taxi driver.
“She is a woman who has been diminished by bullying over the years.
“He financially controlled her.
“She says her husband drove her to the hospital and knew full-well the hours she worked.
“It is a particularly sad situation. There’s a suggestion that she had been driven to this by her husband, both figuratively and literally.
“Although Dhaliwal now works a few hours a week on low pay in a shop, she is the full-time carer for her mother.”
Deciding against ordered her to do unpaid work, the judge added: “It seems to me that in your particular situation it would be extremely unfair to add to your woes for offending which was clearly not your idea and from which you benefited not at all.
A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will be heard at a later date after the court heard the hospital is taking civil action against both Dhaliwal and her husband to recover the money.
Dhaliwal had previously said she was now separated from her husband and never opened her pay cheques, the money had been paid into a joint bank account to which she did not have access.