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Published 28 September 2022
Margarita Twist-Wilson has been found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to 4 months imprisonment for her deliberate attempt to defraud the NHS of almost £500,000.
Handing down the 4 month prison sentence in the High Court on 13 September 2022, His Honour Judge Salmon also ordered the fraudster, Mrs Twist-Wilson, of St Helens, to pay The Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s legal costs of £44,000.
DAC Beachcroft Claims Limited were instructed by NHS Resolution, on behalf of the Trust, to commence criminal proceedings against Twist-Wilson after a judge ruled that her personal injury claim made against the Trust was fundamentally dishonest. Twist-Wilson had brought the claim following an accident in March 2014 at The Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry. She alleged she had suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident and required significant levels of care as a direct result of her alleged accident-related injuries. Twist-Wilson initially made a claim for £498,832, of which £343,098 related to costs for care and assistance. Following thorough investigations carried out by DAC Beachcroft’s Counter Fraud Team, and disclosure of damning evidence obtained which showed she had dishonestly exaggerated her post-accident care needs, she subsequently reduced her damages claim to £15,026 shortly before trial.
At trial in February 2020, His Honour Judge Rawlings concluded that Twist-Wilson had been fundamentally dishonest and dismissed her claim, pursuant to section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.
Commenting on the outcome, Claire Laver, Partner and Head of Casualty Fraud at DAC Beachcroft, said: “This is an exceptional outcome for NHS Resolution and testament to the hard work and dedication of all those involved. It sends yet another message to those contemplating bringing a personal injury claim, that exaggeration is fraud and can lead to a criminal conviction, loss of liberty and a hefty costs bill to pay. Individuals may seek to exaggerate their losses to increase compensation, fuelled in part by the cost of living crisis, but are urged to think again.“
Craig Macbeth, Deputy Chief Executive at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, said: “This is a sad case which highlights the seriousness of any attempt to defraud the NHS. Taking the decision to pursue this case in court was not one we took lightly, but we believe it was the right thing to do and was in the public interest. It is important we protect funds that could and should be used for the provision of healthcare services that benefit our patients.”
The Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was represented by Kerry Bell of DAC Beachcroft and Kirsty Mckinlay of 9 St Johns Street Chambers.
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