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NRI doc in the dock for £40,000 scam

IANS
Oct 04, 2006 at 08:46am IST

London: A doctor of Indian origin forged time sheets to claim more than 40,000 pounds even though she did not do a day's work, the Newcastle Crown Court hearing the case has been told.

As part of ongoing hearings, the court was told that Dr Debasmita Mukhopadhyay-Chattopadhyay was employed by the South Tyneside District Hospital to work for short stints on four occasions, but was not re-employed because her work was not judged to be good enough.

MONEY MATTERS: Dr Debasmita Mukhopadhyay-Chattopadhyay claimed the money despite not working.

After she left in February 2004, Mukhopadhyay-Chattopadhyay, 39, forged three of her bosses' signatures to put claims in for a further 11 months' worth of work - a total of £41,793.5, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

Mukhopadhyay-Chattopadhyay is even accused of submitting time sheets for work on two occasions when she was on holiday in her native India, according to a report in The Journal, Newcastle.

The court was told that when police raided her flat in the Darlington Memorial Hospital, they found a number of pay slips for a period when she was not employed. The prosecution also alleges that a half-completed time sheet was found at the flat, as well as 267 blank sheets.

Roger Birch, prosecuting lawyer, said it was the Crown's case that she intended to carry on falsely claiming work. She worked for four periods at South Tyneside District Hospital, in the Accident and Emergency and Obstetrics and Gynaecology departments, between May 2003 and February 2004.

Mukhopadhyay-Chattopadhyay denies 10 counts of obtaining money transfer by deception, three counts of forgery and one count of attempting to obtain money transfer by deception - which relates to a time sheet the trust refused to pay out.

Birch said: "When you work for the health service, you complete the time sheet, it is then signed by the consultant in charge of the department and then checked and signed by the personnel department.

"The Crown will say Dr Mukhopadhyay-Chattopadhyay has forged the signature of the consultant and the medical staff personnel manager to say she was still working at the hospital."

Mukhopadhyay-Chattopadhyay, who came to the UK from India to improve her knowledge of obstetrics and gynaecology, applied for a job at Darlington Memorial Hospital in June 2004, but made no mention of her time at South Tyneside after February of that year.

Addressing the jury, Birch added: "You would have thought she would have mentioned she was working at South Tyneside District Hospital. But no, she said she finished there in February 2004.

"This is evidence from the doctor herself stating when she worked at the hospital, yet there are still time sheets going in for 11 months after she said she left."

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