TOKYO (TR) – At the Tokyo District Court on Thursday, the prosecution said in the trial for a 37-year-old celebrity doctor accused of health insurance fraud that it is seeking a prison term of three years, reports Nikkan Sports (June 23).
Over a two-year period ending in 2014, Eriko Wakisaka, a former director of a clinic in Meguro Ward, allegedly fabricated patient records on multiple occasions to fraudulently collect 1.55 million yen in health insurance payments.
“Although you were introduced to the patients for the unauthorized charges via accomplices, the creation of false medical records played a central role in the crime,” said the prosecution. “With the money from the fraud being used at places like host clubs it was a selfish crime.”
In court, Wakisaka denied that she spent the money at host clubs, saying that she did it due to accrued debts. “I had to keep the clinic going,” she is quoted, according to TBS News (June 23).
Wakisaka carried out the ruse as a part of a large fraud perpetrated in the Kanto area. Dental offices in Chiba Prefecture and a bone-setting clinic in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward are among those that also allegedly faked patient records.
Police have also arrested multiple members of the Sumiyoshi-kai organized crime group for participation in the crimes. Starting in 2009, the ring is believed to have collected a total of roughly 120 million yen, which police believe was funneled to the gang.
The defense is seeking a suspended sentence in Wakisaka’s case. “While not being the mastermind in the crimes, (she has) reflected on the seriousness of the matter,” the defense argued. “Upon her return to society, it has been arranged for the defendant’s mother to provide supervision.”
Wakisaka often appears on television variety programs to speak about health-related topics. During those appearances, the doctor has garnered a reputation for lavish spending, once boasting of having no savings in spite of an annual salary of 50 million yen and regularly running up bills of nine million yen during a night out.
The decision in the case is expected on July 12.