‘Phantom patients’ dentist jailed

A dentist and his wife who stole more than £30,000 from the NHS by claiming money for treatment never given to patients have been jailed, the BBC has reported.

Newton Johnson, 52, and his wife Judith, 51, also claimed for treatment for ‘phantom’ patients, which included the name of a family pet dog.

He was jailed for 21 months and his wife, the practice manager, for 18 months at Swansea Crown Court.

The couple, based in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, admitted 37 offences.

Newton Johnson admitted 20 offences of theft totalling £37,555. His wife pleaded guilty to 17 charges of theft amounting to £32,357.

Previously the court heard that between January 1999 and July 2004 they claimed money from the Dental Practice Board, both for ‘phantom patients’ and treatment that registered patients had never received.

They were caught out after the Welsh section of the Counter Fraud Service investigated them following a tip-off.

Justin Gau, prosecuting, told the court how Newton Johnson’s sister’s pet dog called Varlo was on the patient list as ‘Varlo Johnson’.

Mr Gau added: ‘They were saying to the public purse ‘open wide’ and performing a series of illegal extractions.

‘The fillings they performed were the fillings of their own wallets.’

Johnson’s barrister, Jim Davis, said the couple, who could not afford to repay the money, faced ‘absolute ruin’.

Judge Keith Thomas said the offending had been ‘serious, substantial and prolonged’.

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