A Birmingham dentist who defrauded the NHS to gain prescriptions for a heroin-like drug he was addicted to has avoided being jailed.
Behnam Aghabeigi was handed a 12 month community order at Birmingham Crown Court.
Aghabeigi, who is a clinical fellow with prestigious Harvard School of Dental Medicine in America, used the names of friends and his wife during the fraud and also got other clinicians to sign prescriptions for him.
Judge David Tomlinson said the fact that the doctor had used his senior position to persuade his junior colleagues to get the bupenorphine for him was the most serious feature in the case.
He went on: “It is always a serious matter when a doctor avoids the very strict rules that relate to the prescription of medication.
“I have however read some very compelling material about you which persuades me there are very substantial mitigating factors.
“You have never sought to duck responsibility for what you did once it was detected.”
Aghabeigi, aged 48, of Hagley Road, Edgbaston, a father of three, had previously admitted 12 charges of fraud by dishonestly abusing his position as a clinician.
He is a former oral surgeon and training director at Birmingham Dental Hospital, where he has since lost his job, and a dentist and educational director at the Tatum Clinic and Institute in Highfield Road, Edgbaston.
Harbinder Lally, prosecuting at Birmingham Crown Court, said it came to light in July this year that prescriptions were being filled in on behalf of the consultant oral surgeon by others in relation to a pain killing drug.
William Edis QC said that it was a tragic story and that Aghabeigi was a highly qualified oral surgeon who came to Birmingham in 2003 and had provided valuable service to the public.
“As a result of his offending he has lost his job and his good name,” he said.
He said Aghabeigi had previously been diagnosed with a serious disorder which required strong medication.
This resulted in him suffering from headaches and the doctor had discovered that buprenorphine got rid of them.
Mr Edis said the doctor had been prescribed the drug which he took for nine months and then stopped. In all probability he had become dependent on it. In 2009 he restarted the drug and at this stage he behaved in a criminal fashion,” he said.
He said “It is tragic he fell into this pattern of behaviour. The real harm has been done to himself.”
Mr Edis said the drugs Aghabeigi took were only worth £120 and that there was no suggestion that his work had been affected.