On 31 October, Luca Silverii, previously owner and practice manager of ‘Allmed’, a medical clinic in Melbourne, was jailed for defrauding the Commonwealth of $3,371,033.25 in respect of fraudulent claims he submitted between 24 December 2011 and 27 December 2016 for medical services purportedly provided by staff of the clinic. The services were, in fact, never rendered.
All of the claims made related to medical services purportedly rendered at the clinic to 5,870 different patients by eight registered health practitioners. Medicare commenced its investigation when several members of the public made enquiries about their claim history for services they had neither sought nor received.
Computers and the medical records of the clinic were seized and a forensic analysis of the devices indicated that Silverii had lodged claims outside of business hours or from home. In order to avoid detection from employees of the clinic, including the health practitioners, he deleted the claims from the clinic’s practice management software, shortly after submitting them.
Silverii pleaded guilty to 5 charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception from the Commonwealth (s134.2(1) of the Criminal Code 1995) and 1 charge of attempt to obtain a financial advantage by deception (s11.1(1) and 134.2(1) of the Criminal Code). He was sentenced to a total effective sentence of 6 years’ imprisonment and will become eligible for parole after serving 3 years, 6 months.
In handing down the sentence, her Honour Judge Condon of the County Court of Victoria described the quantum obtained as ‘extraordinary’ and agreed with comments made by previous courts that ‘Defrauding Medicare is really robbing other taxpayers’.