See full judgment: Austlii.
The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 2 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception from a Commonwealth entity contrary to s 134.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and 2 counts of attempting to obtain a financial advantage by deception from a Commonwealth entity contrary to ss 11.1(1) and 134.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.
Nature and Circumstances: The offending was very serious. It occurred over a lengthy period when offender lodged nearly 4,000 false podiatry claims with Medicare. Offender received nearly $180,000 and but for their own mistakes would have received a further $40,000 or thereabouts. Each of the counts forms part of a systematic and planned course of conduct consisting of multiple criminal acts of deception. Offender’s conduct was consistent and ongoing, and offender used their position of advantage as a registered health provider to abuse the Medicare system which relies on participants’ trust for its proper administration. Offender abused the trust of their patients who relied on them to submit honest claims in order to protect their entitlements. Overall, the objective seriousness is in the mid-range.
Rehabilitation: Offender’s voluntary reparation demonstrates a very high degree of contrition. It is 5 years since offending. In the meantime, offender has married, had a child, bought a home, and have re-established their podiatry practice without access to direct Medicare billing. Offender has no criminal record and is unlikely to reoffend. Incarceration now would necessarily interrupt offender’s rehabilitation, which they have substantially progressed, to the disadvantage of the community and offender.
Offender sentenced to 3 years imprisonment to be released immediately on recognizance of $2,000 to be of good behaviour for 3 years.