Portsmouth GP Jailed after Stealing £1.1m NHS Money to Fuel Gambling Addiction

Dr Rumi Chhapia, a senior Portsmouth GP who stole more than £1.1m NHS funds to fuel his gambling addiction has been jailed for three years and four months.The disgraced GP stole the funds to chase jackpots on online slots and roulette games. Mr Chhapia, co-founded the Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance, including 16 GP surgeries in Hampshire, UK. Once in charge of the accounts after the head of finances signed off sick, he immediately began embezzling funds.

Gambling Companies Payback £904,000

Unusually, the gambling companies involved have agreed to pay back £904,000 of the money Chhapia stole after he wrote to them admitting what he had done.After a staff member noticed money was missing Mr Chhapia said the company had been the victim of a cyber-attack and continued embezzling funds. The courts heard how Mr Chhapia had not been particularly careful while stealing the money, he simply transferred the stolen funds into his own accounts. He agreed to pay back £238,000 while the gambling companies paid £904,000.

Severe Gambling Addiction

It’s clear Mr Chhapia had a severe gambling addiction, he remortgaged his home, sold his car, and failed to pay back the money he had previously loaned from friends.PPCA director Mark Swindells said, “The financial impact was profound, the people of Portsmouth lost a sizeable chunk of HHS money. Although we are financially solvent, it’s reduced the overall budget and caused cashflow problems.”Mr Chhapia’s defense said he was always “one win away” from gaining financial security. “He entered into a desperation phase and thought the next bet would be the panacea of all bets. He felt the need to keep talking money even after they raised the alarm to try and win.”Prosecuting Judge, Keith Cutler said, “You abused the trust placed on you and took £1.13m from the PPCA, money which in my judgment should have been for GP surgeries to develop their surgeries.”Mr Chhapia resigned from his role last year after admitting fraud by abuse of position.

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