A dentist has been convicted of defrauding the NHS of £1.4 million, in one of the biggest cases of fraud the health service has ever seen.
Dr Joyce Trail, 50, was found guilty along with her daughter Nyri Sterling, 33, of conspiracy to defraud.
Her sister Fiona Trail also stood trial at Birmingham Crown Court on the same charge. She was found not guilty.
Dr Trail's deal with Birmingham and Solihull PCT was for £620,000 a year. So she was paid over £50,000 a month but simply didn't do most of the work.
She just said she'd done it and forged the paperwork - sometimes changing names with whitener fluid.
Joyce Trail lived a life of luxury in a £1.2 million house while declaring an income of less than fifty thousand pounds a year to the Inland Revenue.
Judge Peter Carr said today:
– Judge Peter Carr
"In your case there is no other option than a substantial sentence of imprisonment, the only thing I need to decide is its length.
"You abused your position as a professional and you abused your position as a dentist. You have effectively stolen a large amount of money that was not available to an already overstretched health service."
Dr Trail was so busy with the fraud she barely did any real dentistry at all.
During the indictment period between 2006 and 2009 investigators identified over 7000 false claims – 75% of all NHS claims made by Joyce Trail in that time.
She targeted old people’s homes – where there is great demand for expensive dentures. She offered her services to dozens of homes then submitted a production line of fraudulent claims in residents’ names – some of whom had died by the time the claim was processed.
Her daughter Nyri Sterling worked in the dental practise and assisted in the fraud by helping with the industrial scale manufacture of documents.
The average dentist earns nearly £90,000 a year but this was simply not enough for Dr. Joyce Trail. She has not yet been sentenced but she has been warned that she is facing a “substantial” jail term.
Dr Trail and her sister Fiona Trail were also charged with perverting the course of justice. They were cleared of both charges.