Dentist jailed for defrauding NHS out of over £220,000 by claiming for fake or private procedures

Mark Walewski is to serve three years in prison for the five-year scam, which included claiming for an examination of a toothless 17-day old baby

Caroline Mortimer
Monday 01 February 2016 22:19 GMT
Walewski had a fleet of classic cars at home
Walewski had a fleet of classic cars at home (PA)

A Surrey dentist who defrauded the NHS out of more than £220,000 has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Mark Walewski admitted to running a five-year scam where he would charged the health service for 6,608 pieces of work that either he’d not done or had been paid for privately.

He made the false claims between 2006 to 2012 at his New Dental Surgery in Hindhead.

The court heard how Walewski - who had a £150,000-a-year salary - made a series of fictitious claims, including for an examination of a tootless 17-day old baby.

Sentencing him, Judge Stephen Climie said: "This involved a gross abuse of the position of trust that you held.

"There was an associated risk as patients' records do not now reflect the truth of treatment.

"This casts a shadow over your profession as a whole."

The garden of one of Walewski's homes (PA)

The 68-year-old from the village of Churt admitted two counts of obtaining money transferred by deception and two counts of fraud by abuse of position.

Seventeen other charges are to lie on file.

When police first visited Walewski’s house in 2012, he denied any wrongdoing and accused a dental nurse at the practice of making the claims by mistake - leading to the arrest of another staff member.

The allegations only came to light following an anonymous tip-off.

His barrister Jonathan Rees QC said in mitagation that Walewski had spent much of his career helping the disabled access dental care.

But speaking after the sentencing, Sue Frith, managing director of the health service’s anti-fraud team, NHS Protect, said he "abused his position of trust so that he could enjoy a lifestyle way beyond that of the average taxpayer".

Liz Wood from NHS Protect said the fraud was "not a victimless crime" and Walewski had compromised patient care as dental records are used to identify people.

 Sue Frith managing director of NHS Protect said he used his position to 'enjoy a lifestyle way beyond that of the average taxpayer'

She said: "If something really bad happens, for example a very bad fire, people use teeth for identification purposes.

"There are an awful lot of children here. The parents who gave us statements were not very happy to realise their children could have been used."

Prosecutors described Walewski as “well-off” with several properties and a fleet of classic cars.

Additional reporting by PA

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