Dentist facing jail for £1.4m fraud

 

A dentist who conned the NHS out of £1.4 million - much of which she spent on exotic holidays and designer shoes - has been warned she faces a "substantial" jail term after a jury found her guilty of conspiracy to defraud.

Dr Joyce Trail was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court after a five-week trial.

Jurors heard she made thousands of false claims for treating patients, including dozens for people who were actually dead.

Judge Peter Carr told her: "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."

Prosecutors said Trail, 50, of Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, spent money she gained from the scam on "globe-trotting" and Jimmy Choo shoes.

Trail's daughter. Nyri Sterling, 33, was also convicted of conspiracy to defraud.

The dentist's sister, Fiona Trail, 46, was acquitted of the charge.

Opening the case, prosecutor Miranda Moore QC said the fraud at Trail's practice in Handsworth, Birmingham, involved more than 7,000 claims backed up by false paperwork.

Miss Moore told the court: "Dr Trail claimed and was paid a great deal for treatment she had not performed - not just a few claims, not just a few clerical errors, but something in the order of £1.4 million of false claims."

The prosecutor said Trail's daughter worked in the administration side of the practice and assisted her in running the fraud. The charges relate to the period of April 2006 to March 2009.

False lab dockets and invoices relating to dentures allegedly being supplied to residents in care homes are said to have been used to perpetrate the fraud.

Miss Moore said 100 claims were made for treating people who were dead, adding: "Dr Trail treated people who lived in nursing homes and residential care a great deal of the time.

"She double- and triple-claimed for people that she had actually treated and then she used patient details which had been quite unwittingly supplied to her by nursing homes to claim for people that she had never even met.

"It meant that the practice received in the order of £1.4 million that it should not have done.

"But, moreover, Dr Trail then siphoned off money which enabled her to live a lavish lifestyle. She was globe-trotting, spending time at very exotic locations.

"Her American Express bill was vast compared to what she was legitimately making from the business, but of course when it's other people's money it's very easy to spend it."

Trail, of Park Drive, Little Aston, was remanded in custody to be sentenced on September 14.

Sterling, of Ashwood Close, Oldbury, West Midlands, was released on bail until sentencing on the same date.

The judge told her: "You too are in a serious position. It is highly likely that you too will go to prison."

Dr Trail and her sister, of Belle Vale, Halesowen, West Midlands, were both cleared of conspiring to pervert the course of justice in April 2009 as NHS investigators gathered evidence.

PA

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