Just what Dr ordered
$539k recovered from hoax medic
MORE than half-a-million dollars has been clawed back from the assets of a fake doctor who used a stolen identity to work in NSW hospitals for more than a decade. The Daily Telegraph can reveal the state government has finally settled a legal battle against Shyam Acharya, who has been on the run overseas for nearly two years since his shocking scam was exposed.
Acharya, posing as qualified doctor Sarang Chitale, worked in the public health system, treating patients in Wyong, Gosford, Hornsby, Royal North Shore, Manly and Mona Vale hospitals from 2003-2014. Acharya fled Australia before his scam was uncovered in early 2017.
The government will recover about $539,000 but it is understood Acharya was paid about $1.92 million by NSW Health during his scam. In April 2017 he was fined $30,000 over the stolen identity and the state government vowed to try to recoup more cash from his accounts to repay the wages he effectively stole from the health system.
The NSW Crime Commission led the proceedings against Acharya after a push from Health Minister Brad Hazzard, who considered the initial penalty woefully inadequate. “This was operation take back Dr Dodgy’s dollars … and now taxpayers are the winners here,” Mr Hazzard said
The government will get $539,000 from Acharya’s assets, including about $400,000 of his share of a home in North Ryde as well as $139,000 in superannuation from an account he set up in the name of Dr Chitale.
Acharya’s wife — who investigators believe knew nothing of her husband’s fraud — will retain half the value of the home.
The payments are due to be processed on March 13. They require Acharya’s wife to remortgage part of the home, which is estimated to be worth about $1.3 million.
It’s believed Acharya spent some time in medical school in India, but was never qualified, before he moved to Sydney and began his elaborate hoax. He was friends with the real Dr Chitale, a qualified specialist now living in the UK, who also knew nothing of his former friend’s fraud.
Fraudulent doctor Shyam Acharya worked in NSW for 11 years.
How The Daily Telegraph broke the shocking story.