Published: 07/11/2002, Volume II2, No. 5830 Page 4 5

A trust chief executive and local magistrate has been jailed for 18 months for fiddling car expenses at a time when he was investigating fraud in another trust.

Don Marquis, chief executive of East Elmbridge and Mid Surrey primary care trust until June, was sent to prison from Kingston Crown Court after pleading guilty to two charges of obtaining£40,000 by deception from Surrey Oaklands trust between 1996-2002.

He was sentenced to two periods of18 months, to run concurrently.

Mr Marquis, who was chief executive of Surrey Oaklands trust between October 1995 and March 2001, submitted claims for exaggerated mileage to trust chair Brian Perkins for six years, after he was told by Mr Perkins he could not have a car leasing agreement as he had had in his previous job.

The court heard that Mr Marquis claimed for business trips he could not have made, including one to a conference in Glasgow when he was actually attending a social function with work colleagues.

The fraud continued when Mr Marquis was on secondment to East Elmbridge PCT from April 2000, where he became chief executive in April 2002.

In 1998 Mr Marquis went to Lifecare trust in Surrey - which in April 1999 was taken over by Surrey Oaklands trust - as acting chief executive to oversee allegations of fraud that resulted in NHS manager Walter Hurley, resettlement manager of subcontracted services, being jailed.

The judge told Mr Marquis: 'You were a good, efficient, diligent manager, but while you were doing that good work you were systematically being dishonest.'

The court heard that all the money had been repaid by Mr Marquis and his family had lost their home as a result of the case.

Roy Lilley, former chair of Homewood trust who appointed Mr Marquis as its nursing director in 1989, was a character witness in court.He told HSJ: 'I am devastated for Don and his family. Everyone in the NHS knows Don is a smashing manager.'