Director of Essex care provider denies £151k Covid fraud

Caroline Hunt appearing before the magistrates in Chelmsford

A care company director has refuted accusations that he submitted fictitious service invoices in order to steal money from the local council's Covid response fund.

Eight counts of fraud by false representation were presented to Chelmsford Magistrates' Court by Caroline Hunt, 53, of St. Cleres Hall Lane, St. Osyth, who entered a not guilty plea.

Ms. Hunt allegedly submitted fraudulent invoices totaling £151,000 to Essex County Council, according to the prosecution.

Unconditional bail was granted to her.

The county council claims that Ms. Hunt submitted documentation for payments from its Covid-19 response fund between May and October 2020, claiming that it "represent[ed] genuine documentation" when "in fact[it] was false" with the intention of "making a gain, specifically unknown" for Hunt Healthcare Group.

Invoices for services rendered on behalf of four companies totaling £273,000, according to prosecutor George Spencer-Jones, were submitted.

He claimed that £170,000 was paid out, of which £151,000 was fraudulent.

"This defendant absolutely denies the offenses," Ms. Hunt's attorney James O'Keefe told the court.

She will show up for a plea hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on March 16, according to district judge Christopher Williams.

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