11 Apr 2013

Pair arrested after $375,000 dental scam

8:17 pm on 11 April 2013

The Government says a $375,000 welfare fraud centred on a bogus dental practice has been uncovered and two people arrested.

A 48-year-old man and a woman, aged 51, are in custody and are due to appear in the Manukau District Court on Friday.

It is alleged the pair asked beneficiaries to put in benefit claims for emergency dental work, provided false documents - posing as dentists - and then took a 25% cut of the payment.

The prosecution is the first to be taken by the Government's new inter-agency fraud group.

Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows says about 280 people are involved and all the money will have to be paid back.

"What has happened now is (the ministry) has put in more checks so that the person is a genuine practitioner, and there is follow-up with the dentist themselves to make sure that it is a genuine therapy that is taking place or will be taking place."

Mr Borrows says the fraud goes back to December 2011 and there may be more prosecutions.