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Health Benefits Satisfied With Sentences

Health Benefits Satisfied With Sentences Handed Down In Fraud Case

Sentences were handed down today in the Wellington District Court to the principal and three company representatives of New Zealand Diagnostics Ltd, a Waikanae based medical supply company.

Health Benefits, a business unit of the Ministry of Health, laid criminal charges against the principal, Cavan Haines, his son Quentin Haines and two other company representatives, Joy Jones and Franciscus Buissink of New Zealand Diagnostics Ltd. The charges were for conspiracy to defraud.

The fraud centred around New Zealand Diagnostics making false claims for the supply of certain subsidised medical equipment to health professionals. The period over which this fraud occurred was between 1994 and 1998. The amount defrauded was $5.5 million.

On 3 April the jury in the case delivered a guilty verdict on all counts against the four defendants. The sentences handed down by the court today were the last stage of the criminal prosecution for this major fraud uncovered by Health Benefits. The sentences were for Cavan Haines four and half years imprisonment; Quentin Haines and Joy Jones each received eighteen months imprisonment, suspended for two years plus nine months periodic detention; and Franciscus Buissink received eighteen months imprisonment suspended for two years plus a $10,000 fine.

"Health Benefits has not only stopped this fraud but also brought a successful prosecution against those who carried out this crime. The scale of this crime seriously disadvantaged the general public by decreasing funding for services, medication and equipment that could otherwise have been provided with the money that was fraudulently obtained by New Zealand Diagnostics"

Alastair McIlwrick said this outcome and the sentences imposed, serves notice to those organisations or individuals that seek to defraud, that they will not succeed.

"The sentences delivered by the Court should provide an effective deterrent to those who would consider dishonest practices in lodging claims with Health Benefits. It will also reassure the overwhelming majority of health professionals who submit correct and honest claims that their integrity and that of the system of claims and payments has and will continue to be preserved", said Alastair McIlwrick.

Health Benefits is currently pursuing a range of options to recover the money defrauded. This is consistent with Health Benefits policy of recovering public funds when they have been inappropriately claimed and maintaining a climate of accountability within the claimant community.

ENDS

Note: Health Benefits is the agency responsible for receiving, assessing and making payment on claims to health professionals and medical supply companies for a range of government subsidised services, medications and equipment.

For further information

Contact

Rob Eaddy Phone (04) 496 2199 Cell (025) 227 4070

Robert Eaddy DHB Establishment Communications Manager Communications Corporate & Information Directorate Ministry of Health DDI: 04 496 2199

mailto:robert_eaddy@moh.govt.nz

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