Today, in a landmark case, Sandip Singh Atwal was sentenced to three months in jail for deliberately attempting to defraud the NHS and deceive the Court.
Hempsons Solicitors, instructed by NHS Resolution on behalf of Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, successfully established that Mr Atwal was in contempt of Court for grossly exaggerating the effect of minor injuries sustained and deliberately and fraudulently claiming compensation in excess of £800,000 in a clinical negligence claim against the NHS.
The Trust’s legal team commissioned covert video surveillance of Mr Atwal in 2015 that exposed him working and lifting heavy items, using his phone and driving with ease. His social media posts also showed him working as a DJ – Sunny KMS – including featuring in a music video.
In his remarks, The Honourable Mr Justice Spencer said:
“In August 2011, when notified of your prospective claim, the trust immediately made a realistic offer of settlement, £30,000. That was, if anything, a generous offer. You did not accept it. Instead you pursued a dishonestly aggravated claim, and by November 2014 when your schedule of loss and damage was served, the claim was pleaded at over £837,000. It included a claim for £255,000 for future loss of earnings, and a claim for £421,000 for future care needs and equipment and the cost of employing someone for household tasks you could no longer do yourself. Those claims were based upon what you were falsely telling the medical and care experts was your continuing level of disability resulting from the negligent hospital treatment. The depths of your deception were revealed by covert video surveillance in October 2015, which proved that you were perfectly able to work, to drive, and to lift and to carry activities which you were still claiming not be able to manage.”
He further added:
“…My firm and clear conclusion is that a sentence of immediate custody is necessary to mark these serious contempts, and to deter others. I am satisfied that appropriate punishment can only be achieved by an immediate custodial sentence…”
Helen Vernon, chief executive of NHS Resolution said:
“Fraud is a serious offence and today’s decision sends a very clear message that the NHS is not an easy target and that you cannot submit fraudulent claims with impunity.
“This landmark decision demonstrates that fraud against the NHS will be investigated by NHS Resolution and, significantly, dealt with robustly by the Court. This case highlights the very serious consequences of submitting dishonest and exaggerated claims. However, we continue to ensure genuine claimants are properly compensated.”