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Martlesham woman who stole £264,000 from Ipswich GP surgery given extended payback period

05 July, 2017 - 11:04
Burlington Road Surgery in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Burlington Road Surgery in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

A disgraced former practice manager at Burlington Road GP surgery in Ipswich has been given more time to pay back £166,000 of the £264,000 she embezzled from her employer.

Caryl Heath outside the Burlington Road Surgery in Ipswich. Picture: RICHARD SNASDELLCaryl Heath outside the Burlington Road Surgery in Ipswich. Picture: RICHARD SNASDELL

Caryl Heath was due to have paid back the money this month but yesterday Judge Martyn Levett agreed to an application to extend the payment deadline until October 5 to allow more time for a pension fund to be redeemed.

In April, Ipswich Crown Court heard that Heath’s total realisable assets came to £166,900 including equity in her home, money in bank accounts, cash seized by police and pension plans.

Heath was not required to attend the hearing.

Last year 56-year-old Heath, of Farriers Close, Martlesham, admitted theft by employee between 2009 and 2014 from Burlington Primary Care in Burlington Road. She was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years.

Burlington Road, Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWNBurlington Road, Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWN

During her confiscation hearing in April the court heard that Heath’s benefit from her crime was £263,800 and a judge approved a confiscation order for the sum of £166,900 to be paid within three months.

However, it was agreed that Heath could apply for a further three months to pay if necessary but she was warned that failure to pay the money by the specified date would lead to a two year jail term in default.

During her sentencing in September the court heard Heath, who earned £38,000 a year, gave herself a 50% pay rise after being told her salary was not going to be increased. She also made unauthorised monthly payments totalling more than £20,000 into her bank account.

Heath, who worked at the health centre for more than 20 years, also paid herself thousands of pounds of unrecorded and unauthorised overtime.

Heath’s dishonesty came to light in 2014 after she underwent major surgery and a doctor became suspicious after looking at the practice’ accounts.

Sentencing Heath to her suspended sentence a judge described what she had done as “beneath contempt”.

He added Heath had betrayed her colleagues and the doctors who employed her.

“They must feel entirely betrayed by you, because they were,” he said.

Heath was also given a six-month electronically-monitored curfew from 7pm-7am.

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