Asian dentist jailed for 18 months

Shabir Merchant who claimed National Health Service payments for fictitious treatments was accused of stealing #200,000 from it.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2006 20:21 IST

A dentist of Asian-origin who funded a lavish lifestyle by claiming National Health Service (NHS) payments for fictitious treatments was jailed for 18 months.

Shabir Merchant was accused of stealing £200,000 from the NHS.

When the Dental Practice Board became suspicious, he claimed he had been burgled and his records stolen.

Merchant claimed over a period of five years payments for expensive treatments to nearly 200 patients. They included fillings, crowns and root canal work that he had in reality did not carry out.

With the money he secured, he bought six homes in expensive neighbourhoods in London and Manchester. He also purchased a Ferrari. But when the board asked or details of the treatments he had carried out he said his practice at Swiss Cottage in London had been burgled and all his paperwork of the last three years had been stolen.

A spokesman of the NHS counter-fraud Service said Merchant was not one-off crime but a long-term, deliberate and calculated effort to take NHS resources for himself.

When charged last year Merchant admitted 20 charges of obtaining money by deception totalling nearly £200,000. His assets worth about a million were frozen. He has also been struck off the dental register.

First Published: Feb 11, 2006 20:21 IST