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Aussie mum pleads guilty to defrauding Medicare out of $200,000

A New South Wales mum has pleaded guilty to the charges of defrauding Medicare out of more than $200,000.

The woman defrauded Medicare by submitting close to 100 false benefit claims.

Talaiha Inia, from the Central Coast, signed and submitted the 92 false claims in her role as practice manager with 12 doctors officers across Sydney.

The 45-year-old filed false claims between 2008 and 2014. During the period she worked for a neurosurgery specialist at Prince Alfred Hospital Medical Centre.

During the period in question, she also worked at Macquarie University Hospital and with a Burwood Cardiologist. The scheme defrauded the health system $224,000.

It wasn’t until February 2014 when Medicare identified two large sums Inia claimed for neurological procedures for both herself and her daughter.

In sentencing submissions, the Crown Prosecutor told the court while the amount of money is large it was obtained over a number of years and appears to be more a matter of need than greed.

“I’m not saying people should take the money they’re not entitled to. My client was not using it to fund an expensive lifestyle but keep the family going,” defence barrister Sally Orman-Hales said.

Outside court, Inia’s aunt told waiting media: “Talaiha’s my niece and is a beautiful person”.

The defence also told the court Inia has a tragic set of circumstances with medical records showing she was diagnosed with a brain tumour last year.

The Crown Prosecutor told the court so far $790 has been paid back as part of a debt recovery.

Inia will be sentenced next week.