An NHS dentist has been jailed for three years after stealing nearly £800,000 from mislead patients.
Jayantilal Bhikhabhai Mistry, 67, conned thousands of NHS patients by lying about treatments.
The case led to a three-year investigation, carried out by NHS Protect, which ultimately resulted in a successful conviction.
Mistry managed to purloin £780,268 from the NHS, a theft that the judge presiding over the case described as “fraud on a grand scale”.
The fraud involved 3,360 patients, many of which were found to have been completely fictitious.
Mistry then falsified dental records, with searches of his property in Willesden Green, North London revealing dental records kept in fruit crates and Sainsbury’s shopping bags.
NHS Protect’s investigation also revealed nearly 90% of Mistry’s patients could not be traced, while almost 300 patient addresses he used did not exist.
Dozens were also registered at addresses they had never lived at, including a bank branch in Islington, North London.
The prosecution was the latest in a long line of NHS fraud investigations, after a company was prosecuted for millions of pounds worth of fraud in Leeds just weeks ago.
In addition to the other fraudulent processes, Mistry also took advantage of X-rays, while falsifying dental prescriptions in order to snaffle NHS cash.
The dentist had utilised an official docket in order to fool the NHS into believing that the claims made were genuine.
Ahead of the hearing, Mistry had already pleaded guilty, with a massive paper trail of evidence pointing to the guilt of the dentist.
Ultimately, the court system deemed the level of fraud serious enough to warrant a three-year jail sentence, despite the guilty plea.
Mistry was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday.
To date, £775,000 of the money has been recovered. Mistry must also pay costs towards the investigation of £50,000.
Commenting on the case, Susan Frith, managing director of NHS Protect, commented that the case was extremely regrettable.
“Like all dentists, Jayantilal Mistry was in a position of trust, but he totally abused that trust through repeated fraud on a grand scale over a long period of time. This shocking behaviour cost the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds but thanks to the actions of NHS Protect’s investigators he has already had to pay back £775,000 of it. All suspicions of fraud reported to NHS Protect will be followed up, and investigated wherever appropriate. We press for the prosecution of offenders and seek the strongest possible sanctions, so public money is not diverted from patient care.”
With the NHS facing a deficit of £2 billion this year, the fact that most of the money has been recovered will be a crumb of comfort.