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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Dentist jailed after record fraud
A dentist who conned the NHS out of more than 600,000 has been jailed for three years.

Michael Semeniuk, 45, of Willerby, near Hull, made 3,500 false claims for payment over six years.

The fraudulent claims were made for treating dead patients or for work which was never undertaken, Hull Crown Court heard.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to 27 sample counts of obtaining property by deception, totalling nearly 607,200.

Paul Addison, prosecuting, said: "Such fraud is unfortunately widespread and has an adverse effect on services as a whole."

'Traumatic' divorce

The frauds were discovered by the Dental Practice Board five years after he started making the bogus claims.

Mr Addison said that when finally arrested, Semeniuk told police: "To be honest I have been expecting you."

Semeniuk admitted submitting false claims from September 1998 of between 5,000 and 8,000 per month after creating fictitious names and addresses for patients whose signatures he then forged.

James Sampson, defending, said the dentist was running 24 credit cards with 150,000 debt and massive repayments and had been going through a traumatic divorce.

Judge Tom Cracknell told him: "It's a very sad basis to have to sentence a professional man who for most of his life has been conscientious, hard-working and has contributed substantially to the welfare of the community.

'Abused position'

"You took the wrong course, you resorted to dishonesty and deceit and abused the trust. Your personal, family and professional life is disfigured."

Semeniuk worked at the Spring Bank dental practice in Hull from January 1985. He was allowed to continue practising under supervision after his arrest, but the practice folded under financial pressure in May 2005 when he could not get credit.

Stephen McKenzie, Operational Manager of the NHS CFS Dental Fraud Team, said after the case: "Semeniuk used his trusted position in society to steal an enormous amount of taxpayers' money.

"Now he has been sentenced, we will concentrate on recovering the money he stole and investing it back into NHS dentistry."

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