Surgeon convicted for bogus billing

A female surgeon from Stockholm has been sentenced to four years in prison for aggravated fraud after having swindled public health authorities out of more than 7 million kronor ($1 million).

The doctor ran a private clinic where she claimed to be treating patients with soft tissue tumor in the head and neck. For every patient she treated she billed county health authorities for 2,000 kronor in reimbursement.

But in reality the doctor was using light therapies to treat acne and warts.

Over a three-year period the woman’s fraudulent reimbursements totaled 7.7 million kronor, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

In addition, the treatments were often carried out by staff members without any formal medical training.

The Stockholm County Council, the elected body which manages the public health system, had suspicions about the clinic after it received a tip about its questionable practices.

Anne Rundquist, chief lawyer for the Council, said the conviction is unique.

“We’ve never had a case like this before. It’s a very clear ruling which shows gross violations of the reimbursement rules. And it concerns a large sum of money,” she told DN.

The district court agreed with arguments presented by prosecutors and sentenced the woman to four years in prison for aggravated fraud.

Lars Engstrand, the doctor’s attorney, said he plans to appeal the ruling, claiming the evidence against his client is too thin.

“Even if there was enough (evidence) I still think that the punishment is way over what is considered appropriate,” he told the newspaper.

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