GP jailed for $360k Medicare fraud
A QUEENSLAND doctor has been sentenced to four years' imprisonment after being found guilty of making over $360,000 worth of false claims to Medicare.
Doctor Tony Mufutau Oluwatoyn Bakare, 50, made more than 4000 fake claims between April 2014 and August 2017 for patients he claimed to have treated either while he was overseas or after they had died.
Bakare pleaded not guilty to a charge of obtaining financial advantage by deception at the start of his trial on Monday but a jury yesterday found him guilty of the crime.
Bakare, who spent last night behind bars, was sentenced this morning in Brisbane District Court to four years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 20 months.
Crown prosecutor Daniel Caruana said the Medicare system relied on honesty from general practitioners such as Bakare.
"Doctors are trusted to lodge true claims … and the system really does rely on that honesty," he said.
Mr Caruana said Bakare had shown little remorse for the crime and that the doctor's actions had diminished his previous good character.
He said Judge Tony Moynihan needed to impose a sentence that deterred others from committing similar offences.
Mr Caruana said it was likely the money fraudulently claimed would be clawed back by the government under proceeds of crime action which will see Bakare's home sold and the equity used to pay back the debt.
Defence barrister Mark McCarthy said the Nigerian-born Bakare had experienced a "fall from grace" and would likely face being deregistered as a doctor.
"As night follows day it is certain he will at least be suspended and subject to disciplinary action…," he said.
"It is likely he will no longer be able to hold that privileged position."
Judge Moynihan took Bakare's lack of criminal history into account in sentencing.
"This was a persistent course of conduct involving a series of dishonest acts," he said.
"You were in a position of trust, the Medicare system relies on authorised doctors acting honestly.
"The cost of detection and investigation is high and ultimately is passed onto the taxpayer."
Judge Moynihan also took into account submissions that Bakare's imprisonment may mean he will never see his unwell elderly mother again.
"I take into account that you have not expressed any remorse," he said.
"You will endure the shame that your offending will cause you in the future."