Fossil pleaded guilty to fraud charges. Picture: iStock.
Fossil pleaded guilty to fraud charges. Picture: iStock.

Fraudster swindles $170k out of health funds

A NEW ZEALAND-born man has pleaded guilty to defrauding more than $174,000 from health funds over a five-year period on the Gold Coast.

Shaun Fossil, 39, appeared in the Southport District Court yesterday, where he was sentenced to four years prison for swindling money from health insurance funds, using "a level of sophistication", on 74 separate occasions.

The court heard Fossil used his experience working with health funds in New Zealand to execute the frauds.

He made applications for health insurance online and claimed false receipts for treatments, which included optical and dental work, between September 2011 and October 2016.

The scam did not come to light until February last year when the companies targeted conducted investigations.

After his arrest Fossil explained how he executed the frauds and said he swindled the money to purchase items for friends and family.

Defence barrister Tim Ryan told the court Fossil had spent the past 18 months behind bars, and said he was "very accepting of his responsibility".

He said Fossil had suffered abuse and misused drugs in the past.

Mr Ryan said Fossil worked a number of jobs in prison, completed a range programs since his arrest and planned to work with troubled youth upon his release.

Judge Catherine Muir said the work he had done while in custody was in his favour and explained his offences as "persistent".

"It was systematic and persistent with a level of sophistication," Judge Muir said.

"(You were) able to get away with it for so long because you claimed small amounts."

Judge Muir said Fossil was a good prospect for rehabilitation.

She sentenced Fossil to four years in prison, immediately suspended after counting the 564 days he had spent in custody as time already served.