A dentist who was accused of defrauding the NHS of more than £600,000 has been sentenced to three years in jail. 45-year-old Michael Semeniuk of Willerby, near Hull carried on this fraud for more than six years during which he filed around 3,500 cases of false claims for payment.
The Hull Crown Court was told that the claims were filed for treating dead patients or for work, which was never done. The dentist has earlier pleaded guilty to 27 sample counts of obtaining property by deception. 'Such fraud is unfortunately widespread and has an adverse effect on services as a whole,' commented Paul Addison, prosecuting. James Sampson, defending said that the burden of credit card debt and a nasty divorce had forced his client to adopt this unnecessary approach. But his argument was unheeded by Judge Tom Cracknell who said, '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.' He added that Semeniuk abused his position. 'You took the wrong course, you resorted to dishonesty and deceit and abused the trust. Your personal, family and professional life is disfigured,' he said. Semeniuk used to work at the Spring Bank dental practice in Hull from January 1985, but his practice folded under financial pressure in May 2005. '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,' said Stephen McKenzie, Operational Manager of the NHS CFS Dental Fraud Team.