3 times a qualification check would have stopped a fraudster

Don’t fall for an impressive resume. 

You may feel that, based on your candidate’s previous positions and experience, their qualifications would have already been verified. This is a mistake.

It’s dangerous to assume that a candidate’s previous employer conducted thorough screening on them – you should always conduct it yourself. It is up to you to protect your organisation, staff and clientele from risk by ensuring your employees truly hold the professional abilities and qualifications required for their role.

Today, we’re diving into three real cases where a quick qualification check could have caught a fraudster, and saved dozens of people a huge headache.

Yuravaj Krishnan – Dr of Nothing

In August 2022, Yuvaraj Krishnan was sacked for presenting false certifications. A colleague recognised his name from university, where Krishnan had trespassed onto the campus and snuck into classes he was not enrolled in.

He had been working at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand for about six months before he was found to have forged a medical practising certificate. During his employment at Middlemore, he treated patients and conducted research. After the fraud was revealed, one woman he ‘treated’ expressed her anger, saying “All his medical advice means nothing. It’s months of my life wasted.”[1]

In early September 2022, he pled guilty to using a forged document to get an advantage. The maximum penalty for the charge is 10 years in prison[2].

Barry Urban – ‘Pinnochio of Parliament’

Former Australian Minister of Parliament Barry Urban’s empire of lies came crashing down around him in May 2018. Suspicion began in 2017 with questions about a medal he wore – one he claimed to have been given for his service as a war crimes investigator in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the late 90’s. It came out later that he’d actually bought it online, and an investigation found he’d never served in the Balkans[3].

But that wasn’t his first lie, not by far. He’d provided forged degree qualifications in his application to work with the WA police force in 2005 [4]. The documents included a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Leeds as well as a Certificate of Higher Education in Policing from the University of Portsmouth – both institutions had no record of him.

In September 2018, Urban was arrested by the Major Fraud Squad and charged with 12 offences, including forgery, attempted fraud, and giving false evidence to a parliamentary committee. He was found guilty and, in November 2021, sentenced to three years in jail[5].

Jon Andrewes – Builder of Lies

In the UK, Jon Andrewes held quite a number of high-ranking positions in healthcare, including a chairman position of two NHS trusts and chief executive role at a hospice – all on the basis of phoney qualifications.

He claimed to have extensive professional experience (including a position at the Home Office) and multiple degrees, including two PhD’s, an MBA and a diploma[6]. In reality, he had just a teaching qualification and a higher education diploma in social work from the 1970’s[7]. He’d started out as a builder, then gone on to work as a probation officer, customs officer and youth worker before reinventing himself (and his work history). 

His lies unravelled when discrepancies were found in his CV, leading to an investigation. After admitting to two charges of dishonestly making a false representation in 2017, he was ‘prosecuted for fraud and obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception’ and sentenced to 2 years jail[8]. This year, the Supreme Court has upheld the financial penalty and tasked him with paying back nearly £100,000.

One source from the NHS who spoke to the Daily Mail said “It beggars belief that no due diligence was carried out when he was appointed to these roles in the NHS”[9]. The Daily Mail also reportedly spoke to NHS Improvement, who stated, “the range of checks necessary for these types of appointments” has become more extensive in the aftermath of this controversy. 

It’s easy to lie on a CV – but you can catch fraudsters in their tracks by conducting a Qualifications check, which will verify their certifications are genuine. Couple these with a Reference check, and you can verify their professional experience and manner with previous employers.

The bottom line? Don’t skip the qualification check!

Written by Mary Snowden.

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