Fraudster could face jail over attempt to con NHS out of £837,109

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A FRAUDSTER who grossly exaggerated the effect of his comparatively minor injuries in a bid to con the NHS of £837,109 faces a possible jail sentence.

The case brought against Sandip Singh Atwal, 33, of Huddersfield, is believed to be the first time a health trust has applied to commit someone for contempt of court in such circumstances.

In June 2008, Atwal, who worked in the family taxi business, went to the accident and emergency department at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary after he was attacked with a baseball bat.

It was always admitted that his injuries – fractures of two fingers and a laceration of the lower lip – were negligently treated and Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust offered £30,000 to settle the case.

But Atwal asked for £837,109, including substantial sums for future loss of earnings and care, on the basis he was unable to work and grossly incapacitated, said Mr Justice Spencer at London’s High Court yesterday.

The solicitors acting for the trust were suspicious as his claimed disabilities were inconsistent with entries in the contemporaneous medical records.

In 2015, they commissioned covert video surveillance of Atwal and investigated his social media postings which “gave the lie” to much of what he was asserting, said the judge. The footage showed him working as a courier and his social media revealed that his music-making activities – he used to perform as a professional DJ – continued unabated.

All this led to an allegation of fraudulent exaggeration and, in March 2016, Atwal said he would now accept the offer made nearly five years earlier.

The whole of the £30,000 compensation was swallowed up in paying the trust’s costs so that, after eight years of litigation, Atwal came out with nothing and owing the trust £5,000.

Consideration of sentence and any application to set aside the finding of contempt was adjourned until June 1.