Coast woman defrauds Medicare $189,316 to gamble

A SUNSHINE COAST woman used Medicare numbers from 518 patients to add $5750 to her weekly pay packet and help feed her gambling addiction

Kristy Marie Buckman, aged 36 when sentenced, cheated Medicare of $189,316 over 16 months while working at medical practices in Currimundi, Minyama and Beerwah in 2011 and 2012.

She was sentenced in January to three years jail, to be released on a four-year good behaviour bond after serving 14 months behind bars.

Buckman argued in the Queensland Court of Appeal that the sentence was manifestly excessive but her bid to reduce her sentence was quashed (Friday) yesterday.

She had previously defrauded Medicare in 2005, by making 22 claims for Medicare benefits using false receipts she generated on her employer's computer.

When she was sentenced in January, Buckman was on parole for stealing about $35,000 from a different medical practice in 2013.

Because of the 2013 offences, Buckman will spend 21 months in jail before release on parole.

Justice Hugh Fraser, in a judgment handed down yesterday (Friday), said the sentencing judge took into account rehabilitative steps Buckman had taken and looked at the offending as a whole when delivering the sentence.

"(Buckman) is not a medical practitioner but her offending involved a breach of trust in the sense that she took advantage of her access as an employee to the Medicare numbers of the 518 patients kept by her employer at the medical practices where she worked," he wrote.

Justice Fraser said the total effective sentence of three years and seven months, with release after about 21 months, could not be regarded as excessive or unjust. - ARM NEWSDESK


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