Two dentists who defrauded up to £25,000 from Worcestershire patients and the NHS have been jailed.
Ikhlaq Hussain and Jaspal Bachada, duped patients into paying inflated charges, and then tried to cover up their scam through the “wholesale destruction” of records, Birmingham Crown Court heard.
Hussain, 38, of College Road, Alum Rock, was jailed for 30 months after being found guilty of two charges of conspiracy to defraud.
And Bachada, 37, of Redlake Drive, Stourbridge, who had previously admitted the same charges, was sentenced to 20 months in prison.
Judge Robert Juckes QC said both men had allowed their greed to “go far beyond” the sense of honesty and fairness, which should have prevailed at their practice on Blackfriars Road, Droitwich.
He said the pair had been at university together and bought the practice in 2002 when many people could not get dental treatment on the NHS.
The judge said the dentists had seen a “golden opportunity” to take on lots of patients, even if it meant lowering standards.
And at the same time to “squeeze out of the patients additional money by charging them what were in fact private fees when they believed they were not”.
He said that the NHS had been defrauded because Bachada had pretended he could do NHS work when he was not permitted to do so for the Droitwich practice. False claims were put through other practices, using the names of other dentists, the court heard.
Judge Juckes said the pair created false cards when patients complained and asked to see their records.
He said they attempted to cover up the fraud, and prevent a proper investigation, by removing records from the Droitwich practice to one in Wednesfield where they were “lost or destroyed”.
Anthony Abell, for Hussain, said it was the proudest day of his life when he qualified as a dentist and went on: “His professional life would appear to be in ruins as a result of these proceedings.”
He said the father-of-four was likely to be struck off and that the professional disgrace was a devastating punishment in itself.
Mr Abell said that the patients had only been defrauded of relatively modest amounts.
Timothy Evans for Bachada, said he qualified in 1997 and that he then had “too much success too young”.