A British dentist has been caught in a scam that netted her £1.4 million ($2.3 million). She submitted more than 7000 invoices for dentures and other dental work she didn’t do, including more than 100 for patients that had actually died.
Her criminal prosecution is part of a new effort on the part of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) to crack down on scammers.
Where the Money Went
The dentist used her ill-gotten gains to support a lavish lifestyle for herself and her family. The money was used to buy high-end luxury items like Jimmy Choo shoes, in a collection that, in the words of the judge, “would have made Imelda Marcos proud.” She also bought handbags and other designer clothes, luxury homes, and $1500-a-night hotel suites in the Caribbean.
Of course, the money wasn’t all for her. She also paid to send her granddaughters to an expensive private school.
Her daughter was also convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud as part of the investigation.
How She Was Caught
The dentist treated patients in nursing home settings, providing dentures to the elderly , but in addition to billing for the dental work that she did, she began billing for other patients, too. When investigators called up one of her patients in the home, it was discovered that the patient used a private dentist, not an NHS dentist.
Suspicious that there might be more false invoices, investigators began to look at her other records and discovered the 7000 false invoices, including the 100 for patients who were dead. The invoices had been submitted over the period from 2006-2009.
In October 2012, the dentist was sentenced to seven years in prison, and nearly $600,000 worth of property were seized by the government. Now the courts have ordered her to repay another $580,000 over the next 18 months. Attempts will be made to recover as much of the stolen money as possible.