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Ex-Lloyds manager struck off for £400k theft restored to register

Timothy George Richards, registration number 2042355, can re-join the register after he pays fees
Timothy George Richards, registration number 2042355, can re-join the register after he pays fees

A former Lloydspharmacy manager struck off by the GPhC 2014 for stealing and selling more than £400,000 worth of medicines and equipment has been restored to the register.

Pharmacist Timothy George Richards – registration number 2042355 – was sentenced to jail for 40 months on December 2, 2013, for stealing drugs and medical equipment worth £422,568 from his employer Lloydspharmacy and selling them on, and for evading taxes by failing to declare £37,555 in income. He was subsequently removed from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)’s register on July 23, 2014.

Mr Richards applied for his GPhC registration to be restored in August 2019, and the GPhC fitness-to-practise (FtP) committee granted his request at a hearing last month (August 27), having determined that there is “very little risk of any repetition” of wrongdoing.

“Brought the profession into disrepute”   

Mr Richards had been working as a manager at Lloydspharmacy in Eaton Socon, Cambridgeshire for seven years when, on February 11, 2013 he was seen taking “a large quantity of medications out of the back door of the pharmacy and putting them in the boot of his car, which was in the car park outside”, the GPhC heard at the principal hearing in July 2014.

When he was later questioned, he “admitted that he had stolen about £60,000 of medications in the same way over a period of time” and then selling them on to another pharmacist, who Mr Richards said did not know the drugs were stolen, the GPhC also heard. 

An investigation revealed that Mr Richards had been “stealing systematically for five and a half years”. He had also failed to declare an income of £37,555 from working as a locum pharmacist on Saturdays from March 2010 to March 2013.

At the 2014 hearing, the GPhC committee said that Mr Richards had “brought the profession into disrepute” with his actions.  

While he had made “a full confession, admitted his guilt, apologised and expressed his remorse”, Mr Richard’s fitness to practise was at the time found to be “impaired by reason of his conviction”.

Remorse “very genuine”  

At last month’s FtP hearing, the GPhC heard that, since 2015, Mr Richards “has been working for a community pharmacy as a dispensing assistant and in administrative roles”.

“There is a positive testimonial from his employer, who is ready to employ the applicant as a pharmacist if he is restored to the register,” the GPhC also heard.

Mr Richards told the GPhC committee that he has passed a dispensing assistant course and a range of other CPD courses. He also sold his family home to repay “around £210,000 as a result of the proceeds of crime proceedings which followed his conviction”.

The GPhC committee heard that “at the time of his offending” Mr Richard wanted to “provide everything for his family” and had been "jealous" of those with more expensive houses or cars than him. He is now aware of “the impact of his previous offending had on his family and of how much he and they would have to lose from any repetition”, he told the GPhC.

The committee said it believes Mr Richards’ remorse is “very genuine” and is "satisfied that he is now determined to live within his means and has developed a realistic attitude to material possessions".

It is “convinced that there is now very little risk of any repetition, given the very severe consequences which that dishonesty had for the applicant and his family”, it said.

It also emphasised that “there has never been any question raised about the applicant’s professional ability as a pharmacist”, adding that Mr Richards had been on the register “for some 20 years prior to his removal and no concerns had been raised about his work”.

The GPhC approved Mr Richards’ request to have his registration restored and said he will be added to the register after he pays the registration fee “and any necessary administrative requirements of the council have been met”.

36 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of the GPhC's decision?

John Schofield, Locum pharmacist

I knew Tim well as a colleague and was both astonished and appalled at his criminal wrongdoing and had to pick up some of the pieces . He succumbed to envy and greed, and I cannot exonerate his actions. However he was always and excellent pharmacist, administrator and a very personable man. In conclusion I agree with the committee that ha has served his sentence and should be returned to the register to practise as a pharmacist and rebuild his family life . He certainly will not be a danger to the community and in fact will serve his patients extremely well as he always did.

 

 

 

Edward H Rowan, Locum pharmacist

How is it that Lloyd's didn't work out that someone was pinching that amount of stuff from them until it came to £400K, and even then only because someone saw him putting it in the back of his car?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Lloyds are terrible at controlling their finances. They are either off spending stupid amounts of money, are making loads of cuts to make up for the fact they just spent stupid amounts of money. There's no middle ground with them, in my opinion.

R A, Community pharmacist

This committee is so inconsistent it makes me question the outcome of any FtP hearing. To put things into context I've read past cases where pharmacists have attributed to making errors due to stress in work environment and pressure exerted from management and yet they have been struck off because 'they brought profession into disrepute'. On the other hand its perfectly excusable in Mr Richard's case: 

"The GPhC committee heard that “at the time of his offending” Mr Richard wanted to “provide everything for his family” and had been "jealous" of those with more expensive houses or cars than him. He is now aware of “the impact of his previous offending had on his family and of how much he and they would have to lose from any repetition”, he told the GPhC"

In my opinion Mr Richard's was not under any pressure he did things at of his own volition. There was no impairment in thought process due to work related pressure as such it is not excusable. In fact he only showed remorse after getting caught. I wish this judgement was brought out to the general media they might take a dim view to the outcome. 

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

i agree everyone should get a second chance , he's paid back the money and took his punishment , some nice comments on here , wonder if they would be the same if his name was Mr Pritesh Shah not Timothy George ?

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

There must be more reasons to this and why he was allowed back on the register. I'm glad he was given another chance if he's truly remorseful. Pharmacists with Class A addiction and schizophrenia are restored back on. He must have had other mitigating circumstances.

 

 

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

A contractor who recorded a technician as the responsible pharmacist on three occasions and ran an online pharmacy with “multiple failures of governance” has been struck off.

Oluyomi Olugbenga Adenaike, registration number 2037153, left either a pharmacy technician or the pharmacy's director in charge of the premises on “at least five occasions”, the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) fitness-to-practise committee concluded at a hearing on December 14, 2018.

The GPhC noted that Mr Adenaike – who had been a registered pharmacist for 28 years – was likely to have been impacted negatively by his wife leaving his online pharmacy business and that no previous fitness-to-practise findings had been made against him.

 

Hey GPhC.... Could Mr Adenaike be added back onto the register please? He only left a technician in charge of a pharmacy on a few occassions? No fraud committed or POM stolen. Please, pretty please.

GPhC are a waste of space. You strike this guy off but allow a fraudster back onto the register? What sort of example is that?

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

"GPhC are a waste of space. You strike this guy off but allow a fraudster back onto the register? What sort of example is that?"

Both pharmacists were rightly struck off. Both pharmacists have the right to reapply to be put back on the register. Where is the double standard?

Roger Schofield, Locum pharmacist

I agree entirely that the GphC are in fact just the Royal Pharmaceutical Society by another name plus a lay member who prosecute 10 x more often . Whilst the striking off was justified , the offender has served his time and should not be vilified by the C and D because it has headline appeal. Does the C and D report re instatements that have no headline appeal ?

M M, Community pharmacist

Wow. Meanwhile a BAME pharmacist was struck off a few years ago for driving offences(speeding). Maybe he should have stolen 400k instead.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

@M Musa, I remember reading that case, I think it was a little more complicated than that, and it was more to do with the fact that he misled and tried to cover up, and let it all snowball, wouldn't engage/delayed, this was more the reason, than the speeding offences. I remember thinking the same as you until I read the transcript. 

dave de cat, Community pharmacist

put this into perspective, he stole £400,000 of drugs etc

if he was called mitesh khan he wouldnt be back

 

Kawsar Kamal, Community pharmacist

Are we surprised?

david williams, Community pharmacist

6 years off the register is a long time to reflect on your errors. Should he be allowed back on? I don't know, I am just glad I do not have to make the decision that effects the rest of his and his family's life and balance that with the ethos of being a pharmacist. I would however, like to think, I would give someone a second chance. I dispense inhalers to those who smoke, metformin to 120kg patients and methadone to heroine users. Compassion is a gift, I hope I use it wisely

R A, Community pharmacist

Its not the restoration of the pharmacist that I take an umbrage with. Rather how I've read countless FtP cases and the outcomes which most agree at worst deserved a warning but instead they made an example of them either on the flimsy excuse of 'bringing the profession into disrepute' or 'protecting the public' and erased them from the register.

The FtP cannot have it both ways either implement a system to take mitigating circumstances which would be a relief to most practising pharmacists or be consistent in all cases. Otherwise it will end up like a Kangaroo court which will definitely diminish the profession.  

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Not so much compassion. You get paid for it. 

Brian Smith, Pharmacy technician

Gphc is such a weird organisation. Not fit for purpose. 

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

Even a murderer after serving the sentence is let out and rehabilitated. It is not a whole life sentence

 

Ronald Trump, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Everyone deserves a second chance. Dont get me wrong, it was a huge mistake, but if you can show you gave learned from it and are remorseful then I believe you should be given the chance of forgiveness. Depends where you morally stand I suppose. I dont think he's a risk to patients and for me thats the most important thing.

Career Miss Take, Locum pharmacist

Very inconsistent. Should we be surprised. I think his genetic background might also have been a factor. But when it comes down to it we all should learn to forgive.

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

What's the ethnic make up of the decision makers at GPhC tribunal ?!

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

probably because he is white i assume can't see the same for a BAME offender, be interested if this sets a precedent or similar cases and outcomes?

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

This brings up interesting views on rehabilitation. Setting aside the "stole £400K, paid back £210K" issue (for the record, he should pay it all back), should we as a profession allow someone on the register with a criminal conviction (albeit spent) for something which, by the GPhCs own admission, brings the profession in to disrepute, or do we look on it as "paid his dues, all is forgiven, rebuild and move on". Since £400K could well have been the difference between that store staying open or being closed, the direct impact is far more reaching. Also, who says he won't offend again? If he is in the position of trust that allows the possibility, will his previous envy rear its ugly head again? And as for someone already prepared to employ him, I suspect this may be the only job he will have from now until retirement

Long Standing, Primary care pharmacist

I am amazed the irrational comments being posted ... Timothy ( the person in question) has tried everything in his power and life to right the wrong, but there is still a cohort out there with pitch folks that cannot forgive. imagine the ordeal he has gone through and yet he has tried so hard to get back on the register. Others would have pursed a business or done something that made them more money that being a pharmacist to better their lives. Look at yourself people in the mirror people and right the wrongs you have done before passing comments or judgements By the way I don't know this guy never met him never heard of him but I take my hat off to him , not for the wrong he did but the right . I'm wishing him well in life.

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

anti-depressed Pharmacist, Manager

What about all the other Pharmacists that have been struck off for theft and much less than 400k, should they be allowed back on to?

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

Fitness to practise Pharmacist Mohammed Asif, registration number 2028721, has been struck off for completing declarations on the back of prescription forms without knowing if the patients were entitled to claim an exemption.

Superintendent pharmacist Mohammed Asif, registration number 2028721, has been struck off the professional register for completing declarations on the back of prescription forms without knowing if the patients were entitled to claim an exemption.

 

Mr Asif, who has been a pharmacist for 30 years, operated an "inappropriate and misleading" system by signing exemption forms on behalf of patients who had not submitted a valid exemption certificate or were not exempt from paying for their prescription, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) heard at a fitness-to-practise hearing on July 4.

 

Completely agree with anti-depressed pharmacist. Surely Mr.Asif should be allowed back on to the register... I mean he only deceived the taxpayer of £24-30k... Nothing compared to 400k? What a joke.

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

"Surely Mr.Asif should be allowed back on to the register... I mean he only deceived the taxpayer of £24-30k... Nothing compared to 400k? What a joke."

Yes, after a period of rehabilitation, he should.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

I suppose my issue is that thing whereby we all get tarred with the same brush

Gordon Brown, Superintendent Pharmacist

The argument is often made by not allowing somebody back on the register you deprive individal of an income etc etc while I am not privy to the intimate circumstances I am sorry but this individual has proven they are not a fit person to belong to our profession. Find a job somewhere else doing something else -    Try US politics. 

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Dont even need to travel that far.....try UK politics

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