Birmingham dentist 'conned £1.4m from the NHS'

A dentist conned the NHS out of £1.4m by making thousands of false claims for treating patients, some of whom were dead, a court has heard.

Dr Joyce Trail, who has a practice in Birmingham, is alleged to have used the money on a "lavish lifestyle".

Dr Trail, 50, her daughter Nyri Sterling, 33, and sister Fiona Trail, 46, all deny conspiring to defraud the NHS between April 2006 and March 2009.

The trial at Birmingham Crown Court is expected to last for five weeks.

Prosecutor Miranda Moore QC said the fraud involved 7,000 claims backed up by false paperwork, with 100 claims made for treating people who were dead.

She told the court: "Dr Trail treated people who lived in nursing homes and residential care a great deal of the time.

"She double and triple-claimed for people that she had actually treated and then she used patient details which had been quite unwittingly supplied to her by nursing homes to claim for people that she had never even met."

'Globetrotting'

The jury was told that Fiona Trail and Nyri Sterling both worked in the administration side of the practice in Handsworth and helped Dr Trail in running the scam.

False lab dockets and invoices relating to dentures allegedly being supplied to residents in care homes are claimed to have been used to perpetrate the fraud, the court heard.

Miss Moore told the jury: "Dr Trail then siphoned off money which enabled her to live a lavish lifestyle. She was globetrotting, spending time at very exotic locations.

"Her American Express bill was vast compared to what she was legitimately making from the business, but of course when it's other people's money it's very easy to spend it."

Dr Trail, of Park Drive, Little Aston, Sutton Coldfield, Fiona Trail, of Belle Vale, Halesowen, West Midlands, and Nyri Sterling, of Ashwood Close, Oldbury, face one count of conspiracy to defraud.

Dr Trail and her sister also deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice in April 2009 when NHS investigators were gathering evidence.

BBC Birmingham & Black Country

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