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York woman jailed for £596,000 fraud against doctor’s practice

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A former doctor’s practice manager from York has been jailed for two years after transferring over £596,000 from her employer’s accounts to her own.

Carolyn Lightwing, 55, of St Mary’s York, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position after fraudulently transferring the money from her former employers, Elvington Medical Practice, over a period of three years.

Carolyn Lightwing

As practice manager she was in charge of the suppliers’ invoices and had access to the practice bank accounts which she abused on a substantial scale.

Discrepancies in the accounts came to light in 2017 once Mrs Lightwing was no longer employed by the practice.

She later confessed to transferring the money into her personal bank accounts that she had set up while falsely claiming to be a supplier to the surgery. 

She covered her tracks by taking money from one year’s accounts to balance the previous year’s and the shortfalls only came to light after she left the practice and was no longer able to manipulate the accounts.   

Since the fraud was discovered, all the money has been paid back to the practice by Mrs Lightwing who said that she took the money to cover bills and intended to pay it back.

 Mrs Lightwing pleaded guilty to the fraud at York Magistrates’ Court on 18 June 2019 and was sentenced at York Crown Court on Friday 12 July 2019.  

 Investigating officer, Detective Constable Sarah Burton, said: “This was a massive breach of trust by the defendant and it has had a profound effect on everyone at the surgery. 

“Thankfully the money has since been repaid in full and now that justice has been done, I hope that the staff are able to put this difficult time behind them and continue their vital role in our communities without the distraction that this audacious case has caused.”

 Speaking on behalf of the doctors and staff, Mrs Abigail Holdstock, practice manager, said: “’The Partners and staff of Elvington Medical Practice were shocked and upset on learning of the crime committed by their trusted, former employee and work colleague.  The Partners have assisted the police with their investigation of the crime since it was discovered in November 2017.  As far as the Partners are aware, there has been no compromise to patient care as a result of Mrs Lightwing’s fraud.

 “The partners now wish to move on from what has been a very distressing chapter in the practice’s history.”

Last modified: July 12, 2019