Birmingham dentist Joyce Trail jailed for £1.4m fraud

Dr Joyce Trail Dr Joyce Trail was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court on 31 July

Related Stories

A Birmingham dentist who defrauded the NHS out of £1.4m has been jailed for seven years.

Dr Joyce Trail, 50, of Park Drive, Little Aston, Sutton Coldfield, was convicted in July after a five-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

The jury heard Trail had submitted claims for treating more than 100 patients who were dead, and made duplicate claims for others.

Jailing Trail, Judge Peter Carr said she had been motivated by pure greed.

At Coventry Crown Court, Trail was sentenced to six-and-a-half years for conspiracy to defraud and a further six months for perverting the course of justice, which she had admitted before the trial.

Her daughter Nyri Natilia Sterling, 33, of Ashwood Close, Oldbury, was also jailed for two years for conspiring to defraud the NHS.

The trial was told that Sterling had worked in the administration side of the Handsworth practice and assisted her mother in committing the fraud.

Trail is thought to have made about £1.4m between April 2006 and March 2009, by making claims for dental work that she had not performed.

Trail's collection of shoes The court heard Trail's shoe collection would "make Imelda Marcos proud"

The court heard she used the money to travel the world, sometimes staying in £1,000-a-night hotels and pay for a designer shoe collection that would "make Imelda Marcos proud".

Investigators also found expensive jewellery, designer clothing and foreign currency at Trail's home.

Judge Carr was told the sum could have been used to fund 73 newly-qualified nurses for a year, 221 hip replacements, or life-saving drugs for 51 leukaemia patients.

Trail was first investigated by the NHS in 2004, when she was found to have over-claimed and was ordered to pay back more than £320,000.

Judge Carr told her: "It is my view that, having been ordered to pay back such a large sum, and not wishing to forgo the lifestyle to which you by then had become accustomed, you deliberately set out to ensure that you did not.

"You knew, as a result of that investigation, exactly what was required to try and ensure that your fraud was not discovered."

Condemning the dentist's conduct as calculated, blatant and persistent dishonesty, the judge said he was satisfied that although she had recruited others into the fraud, she was its "organiser and leading light".

Analysis

Joyce Trail had a contract that was three or four times greater than other NHS dental practices of a similar size.

Although she officially claimed about 25% of the care was for visits to nursing homes - the reality was that nearly all her claims were bogus.

She claimed that virtually every patient real or dead needed a new set of dentures every three months. She could then charge the NHS the maximum amount each time.

Some of these homes were as far afield as Nottingham and Manchester.

After Joyce Trail was arrested for the £1.4m fraud in 2009, the NHS continued to pay her practice a further £1m until she was finally convicted in July 2012.

Birmingham and Solihull NHS Cluster said it had continued to pay Trail until the conviction, rather than risk facing "an enormous compensation claim".

It said: "Dr Trail exploited this and spent huge amounts on legal and regulatory support challenging the PCT unsuccessfully at the NHS Litigation Authority and Judicial Review.

"She and her advisers made every effort to thwart the PCT from effectively managing her contract whenever possible."

It added: "With the benefit of hindsight we are looking back to see whether more could have been done and earlier."

The trial followed an investigation by NHS Protect, which combats fraud within the health service.

Speaking after the hearing, the organisation said Trail had forged more than 28,000 documents to support her "bogus claims".

More than 150 claims, costing over £26,500, were for fitting dentures or taking impressions for people who were dead at the time she claimed to have started treatment.

NHS Protect added: "Even after Trail's assets had been frozen, she continued to act dishonestly.

"She used a bank account in another person's name and paid money from the dental practice into this bank account.

"She also rented a house out, and asked the tenant to pay in cash so there would be no paper trail of this additional income."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Birmingham & Black Country

Weather

Birmingham

13 °C 5 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    11:00: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    The Chief Executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service is to carry on doing two jobs.

    More on this on BBC WM.

     
  2.  
    10:48: Father 'may not be killer' Caroline Gall BBC News

    A father was not responsible for killing his one-year-old son because he was not with him when the fatal blow was inflicted, a court has heard.

    Mark Piper, 31, is jointly accused of murdering Levi-Blu Cassin along with his mother Danielle Cassin.

    Levi Blu Cassin

    Levi, from Birmingham, died from "horrific" internal injuries in 2013.

    Paul Lewis, defending Mr Piper, said some medical evidence suggested the injury could have been caused when he was not at the home the couple shared.

     
  3.  
    10:30: Trader failed to disclose £90k earnings Express and Star

    A father-of-two wrongly claimed more than £30,000 in benefits after failing to disclose that he had earned more than £90,000 from trading in horses and cars, a court heard.

     
  4.  
    10:13: Fine for refusing blind woman David Lumb BBC News, West Midlands

    A taxi driver has been fined £2,100 for refusing to carry a blind woman and her guide dog.

    Shahzad Ahmad, from Hodge Hill in Birmingham, claimed his six-seater people carrier was not big enough to take Sue Smith's Labrador, Sonny (pictured together here).

    Sue Smith and Sonny

    It is an offence for a taxi driver not to take a blind person and their guide dog unless they have a medical exemption certificate for an allergy.

     
  5.  
    09:56: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    Tesco is being accused of poor corporate citizenship over fears that plans for a new store in Wolverhampton could be cancelled.

    More on this and other stories in our 10:00 bulletin.

     
  6.  
    09:46: 'Crude' cutbacks for police Amy Cole Reporter, Midlands Today

    "Crude, inequitable and unfair" - that's how the police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands described funding cuts which will see the region's force miss out on a further £5m on top of the £18m he said the force had expected.

    David Jamieson said the cuts meant the force would need to find savings topping £100m again after previously slashing £120m since 2010.

    PCC David Jamieson

    Forecasts show the officer numbers serving in 2016/17 will be around 6,765 compared to 8,835 in 2010/11.

     
  7.  
    09:32: Old bus depot blaze Caroline Gall BBC News

    More than 30 firefighters tackled a "severe" fire at what is believed to be a former bus depot opposite Birmingham City Football Club last night.

    Crews were called to the site on Coventry Road that now contains pallets and paper at 19:45 GMT, West Midlands Fire Service said.

     
  8.  
    09:11: 'Lucky escape' after lamppost smash Alex Homer BBC Local Live

    A 17-year-old driver escaped with a head and minor arm injuries after his car overturned in a smash into a lamppost in Brierley Hill last night.

    The crash happened at the junction of Farndale Close and Hillfields Road at 22:05 and left the car with this damage.

    The damage to the car

    The driver was treated and taken to Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, on a stretcher and wearing a neck collar.

     
  9.  
    08:58: News on the hour Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    We hear from the organiser of a candle-lit vigil in Birmingham for the 132 children and 9 staff who were murdered on Tuesday in Peshawar.

    Listen live to our 09:00 bulletin.

     
  10.  
    08:44: Castle Bromwich road closed BBC WM

    Coleshill Road in Castle Bromwich is closed and there is slow traffic in both directions near The Fox and Goose because of a multi-vehicle accident - one of the vehicles has overturned.

    Police are directing traffic, warns BBC Travel.

     
  11.  
    08:31: Black Friday lessened footfall drop Birmingham Post

    The chaos of Black Friday gave Birmingham's high street retailers a much-needed boost, according to new figures, but the region as a whole suffered a drop in footfall over the past three months

     
  12.  
    08:19: Pakistan school attacks vigil Caroline Gall BBC News

    Two events have been held in Birmingham to remember the 141 people, mostly children, killed in a Taliban attack at a school in Pakistan.

    A prayer service was held at Birmingham Central Mosque and about 80 to 100 people gathered in the city centre for a candlelight vigil.

    Vigil. About 80 to 100 people gathered in the city centre from 19:00 GMT

    Shah Jehan from Wolverhampton, said it was "the darkest moment in my life" when he learnt his cousins were dead.

     
  13.  
    08:02: Today's forecast Charlie Slater Weather Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

    Exceptionally mild in the West Midlands today with highs of 14C (57F) but there are plenty of showers around and it'll be windy too.

    Check out the outlook for the next few days here.

     
  14.  
    08:00: Good morning Alex Homer BBC Local Live

    Another mild morning today. I'm back in the BBC WM newsroom bringing you today's news, sport, travel and weather.

    Get in touch with us during the day about our updates over email, Twitter or Facebook.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.