Lesser sentence on appeal for man's role in medical insurance scam

A man has won an appeal against the severity of his sentence for his role in a medical insurance scam.

Borong Liu, 29, pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court to three charges of receiving the proceeds of crime.

He was sentenced but then took his fight to the ACT Supreme Court and successfully argued he had been sentenced as though he had committed the fraud rather than only for dealing with the proceeds.

The charges related to a scheme where 43 fraudulent insurance claims were made to Allianz Global Assistance in the name of international students.

Fake medical receipts were produced and resulted in more than $11,500 being claimed from the insurance company and deposited into bank accounts in Liu's name.

Liu argued the fraud had been committed by a woman known only as 'Jennifer' and he had been "greedy and stupid" to accept the funds.

The fraudulent claims were for medical appointments at the Garema Place Surgery, the Florey Medical Centre and the Jamison Medical and Skin Cancer Clinic, none of which ever took place.

Liu, who represented himself in both the Magistrates Court and during the appeal, told the court he had been sentenced as though he had actually committed the fraud and not only dealt with the proceeds, as the charges made out. He received a six-month prison sentence, fully suspended, with an associated good behaviour order. He was also forced to complete 240 hours of community service and repay $11,692.15 within 12 months at $1000 per month.

Associate Justice Verity McWilliam found the sentencing magistrate had considered Liu to have conducted the fraud, despite the lesser charges, and had therefore sentenced him erroneously.

Liu was forced to leave Australia and return to China, despite the ongoing appeal process, as he risked deportation due to his conviction.

Associate Justice McWilliam re-sentenced Liu to a three-month suspended sentence, 150 hours of community service and ordered him to repay the money in the same terms as the previous sentence. Liu remains in China but offered to complete community service in his homeland.