• fraudstersdiary

The Doctor will see you now

In order to launder their ill-gotten gains, fraudsters employ professionals to assist them. The accountant I used had a small number of legitimate clients to provide a veneer of respectability, but 95% of the work he did was for criminals like myself. Most of the work and communication was done online and, from memory, I only ever met him in person about once a year.

During one of my annual trips to his palatial office I was sitting in his waiting room wondering how I could escape the incredibly thick deep pile carpet when I heard movement from behind the door and realised his last client was about to leave. As the door opened, our eyes met, and I'm not sure who was most surprised. There stood my own GP looking very sheepish indeed. He averted his gaze and nodded in my direction then made a beeline for the exit.

As I waited to be summoned by buzzer, I wondered what the good doctor had been doing there. I had used this particular accountant for several years and he had earned a fortune from me so I felt that I could step outside of a normal accountant/customer relationship. Rather than jump to conclusions, I asked him if he OK as I knew that getting this particular GP to make a home visit was virtually impossible.

My accountant laughed and explained that he would not sully himself with the NHS but rather had 3 monthly check-ups with a private doctor who charged like a wounded bull. He also had a private healthcare plan and a device on his wrist that monitored everything except his bowel movements. My GP was simply another of his customers seeking to access his expertise in hiding assets should it all go pear-shaped. Clearly any professional client privilege was not relevant here!

Intrigued, I asked how on earth a GP could scam people. My accountant explained that it was not 'people' he was scamming - but rather the NHS. In simple terms, GPs are paid according to the number of patients they have on their books. The more patients that are listed, the more money he gets.

Doctor X had came upon this scam when the local authority served Compulsory Purchase Orders on a few streets in his bit of North London in order to make way for a new stretch of road. Another small enclave of council houses were also demolished once the residents had been rehoused elsewhere. However, the details of all these residents provided rich pickings for the good doctor. He simply registered them all at his practice and his fee from the NHS was increased accordingly.

Having reaped the benefits of his scam he decided to go further by inventing further 'ghost patients' on the top 7 floors of a nearby block of flats - even though in reality the block only had 2 floors! As his lifestyle improved, so did his need to fund it, and this came in the form of working with another healthcare professional fraudster. The GP's brother-in-law is a Pharmacist his chemist is only a stone's throw from the surgery. Every night after his last (genuine) appointment had finished the GP would write out 10-20 prescriptions for these ghost patients.

Every Sunday the GP, the Pharmacist and their wives would meet up at an expensive local restaurant for lunch. They are both well known in the area and are considered to be archetypal pillars of the community - and great tippers! During lunch the GP would hand across an envelope stuffed with over 100 prescriptions relating to imagined illnesses for imaginary patients.

During the following week, the Pharmacist would fill these prescriptions and set aside the drugs that had been prescribed. He then sold them on for cash to genuine 'private' customers, or depending on the drug, sent them abroad to another relative who sold them on to others willing to pay for drugs that he guaranteed to be 'genuine NHS supply' rather than the numerous counterfeit drugs on the market.

Not since I heard about Harold Shipman have I been so surprised at the behaviour of a GP. I appreciate that he is not actually murdering people but I (the reformed 'I') find it hard to accept that robbing the NHS is anything other than despicable!

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