Optician guilty of NHS fraud to be sectioned

AN OPTICIAN awaiting sentencing for defrauding the NHS of £5,000 is to be sectioned so that psychiatrists can determine whether he is mentally ill.

Iqbal Nabi, 38, of Slough, formerly dispensing optician at New Global Visions, in Robertson Street, was convicted of making fraudulent claims to the NHS in July.

He was due to be sentenced on October 8, but judge David Rennie twice decided to postpone proceedings in order that psychiatrists could compile reports, after Nabi appeared in court apparently dazed, unresponsive and unsteady on his feet.

On Tuesday (November 20) at Lewes Crown Court, after the second psychologist’s report was inconclusive, Judge Rennie decided that Nabi should be detained under Section 35 of the Mental Health Act.

He is to be admitted as an in-patient to Wrexham Park Hospital, in Slough, for further tests to be carried out to determine whether there is an element of malingering. Following this, a new sentencing date was set for December 17.

New Global Visions, received cash for eye tests that were never carried out as well as for contact lenses and glasses with incorrect prescriptions between January and October 2009.

The scam cost the taxpayer around £40,000 to investigate.

Nabi was charged, along with Helen James, of Dunstable, Bedfordshire, a former opthalmic medical practitioner, with £5,000 of fraud.

But NHS Counter Fraud Service investigators believed the real figure could be as much as £150,000.

James, 56, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced on October 8 to a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months along with £1,000 in costs and 250 hours community service.

Nabi pleaded not guilty but was convicted following a trial.

Judge Rennie said: “If he needs to be looked after, I’m really keen for him to be looked after as quickly as possible.”