The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal has censured and suspended a physiotherapist after he was convicted of three charges of forgery and three of dishonestly using a document.

The physiotherapist provided falsified documentation to three banks for loan applications. The falsified documents overstated the amount of fees that the physiotherapist’s business was receiving, overstated the amount of money held in the business accounts, and altered bank statements and pay slips for a co-applicant that overstated their income.

Despite one bank rejecting a loan application, two further applications were accepted, and the physiotherapist was loaned $1,508,400 by the banks.

When the deception was discovered, and the physiotherapist charged, he was sentenced to 11 months home detention. Due to the seriousness of the offending, the Professional Conduct Committee laid further charges against the physiotherapist before the Tribunal.

The Tribunal held that the convictions reflected adversely on the physiotherapist’s fitness to practice, noting the significant amount of money involved.

The Tribunal censured the physiotherapist, ordered his registration to be suspended for 9 months, placed conditions on his future practice, and ordered him to pay $20,600 in costs.

Although the offending did not affect any patients, and was for gain in a personal capacity, dishonest conduct in a practitioner’s private life can reflect on their fitness to practice professionally. In serious cases, a practitioner may be permanently struck off.

If there are concerns around the conduct of a healthcare professional, either at or outside of work, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

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