Prison sentence for Elias’ Pharmacist in Charge

Prison sentence for Elias’ Pharmacist in Charge

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Since the Health Care Complaints Commission prohibited Elias Juanas and Roberto Mamblona from operating as the Pharmacists in Charge of their own pharmacy, the notice board at Elias Pharmacy listed Tom Gorgy as the man in charge. This is the Tom (Talat) Gorgy who was sentenced to two years in prison for embarking upon a deliberate, dishonest, and fraudulent course of action within months of becoming the owner of a pharmacy back in 1990.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Tom (Talat) Gorgy served twelve months in prison, and another twelve months on a Good Behaviour Bond, after he was found guilty of defrauding the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to the tune of $39,380.37.

The pharmacist was convicted in the District Court of 30 charges of fraud against the Commonwealth. Nineteen other charges of making false statements were taken into account. He was imprisoned for a period of two years, to be served by twelve months’ imprisonment and twelve months to be of good behaviour.

In a court document, we read that it was conceded by Tom Gorgy that he varied approximately 2,000 prescriptions received in his Narellan Pharmacy in the following ways:

A search at the Pharmacy Council's website reveals Tom Gorgy's case history. Click to enlarge.

A search at the Pharmacy Council’s website reveals Tom Gorgy’s case history. Click to enlarge.

1. He changed the form of medication on prescriptions which did not attract a benefit by substituting a medication which did attract a benefit.

2. He provided customers with non-claimable items in exchange for prescriptions which he did not dispense but which attracted a benefit.

3. He added to repeats which had been authorised by a medical practitioner.

4. On occasion when no repeats had been authorised by the medical practitioner, he included repeats.

5. He altered the strengths of medications noted on the prescriptions, eg by addition of the word “forte” to “Panadeine”.

6. He changed the name or form of some medications to receive a benefit, eg “Rotahaler” was changed for “Rotacaps”.

7. He altered the quantity of medication as shown on the prescription.

8. He altered the names of patients for which medication had been prescribed in order to obtain a benefit.

9. In relation to these repeats, he altered the date of the repeat authorisation to facilitate benefits.

10. He mimicked patients’ signatures on some prescriptions.

In addition to these alterations, the pharmacist claimed payments for items which were never ordered by the medical practitioner by generating dispensing stickers which were not in accord with the prescription.

We are told that Mr Gorgy sold his pharmacy in November 1998, following his conviction. The Judge had noted:

“It is plain from the facts that the pharmacist embarked upon a deliberate, dishonest and fraudulent course of action. His dishonest behaviour commenced within months of becoming owner of the Narellan Pharmacy.

“The gravity of these offences cannot be overestimated. His conduct was not the result of an isolated act but was a course of deliberate and sustained dishonesty involving forty-nine separate false claim forms, which themselves involved over two thousand prescriptions… Mr Gorgy’s behaviour displayed a deliberate, sustained and dishonest attitude to the practice of pharmacy…”

Jonar Nader interviewed outside Elias Pharmacy in Fairfield. Click to enlarge.

Jonar Nader interviewed outside Elias Pharmacy in Fairfield. Click to enlarge.

Records indicate that Tom Gorgy is 59 years old as at 2014. We are told that he obtained his qualifications in pharmacy from a university in Egypt in 1979. He arrived in Australia in 1982 and qualified as a pharmacist in NSW in July 1986. “Between 1986 and 1990 he worked as a locum at various pharmacies until he purchased in March, 1990 a pharmacy in Narellan and became a sole proprietor… Four months after he commenced practice as a sole pharmacist he began the process of defrauding the Commonwealth which continued from 1 June, 1990 to 17 September, 1991. Indeed, his offending occurred for a short time even after he became aware that he was subject to investigation. Due to the nature of the appellant’s offending, the matter took some considerable time to investigate and prepare charges and it was not until July, 1997 that his trial was commenced before Judge Davidson in the District Court. That trial took some eight months and he was sentenced on 17 April, 1998 to imprisonment for a term of two years with a release after twelve months under a bond to be of good behaviour until 16 April, 2000.”

According to the notice board at Elias Pharmacy in Ware Street, Fairfield, Mr Tom (Talat) Gorgy is the Pharmacist in Charge. It remains to be seen what Mr Gorgy might know about IHRB’s and Sam Cohen’s affairs. It is not yet clear if Mr Gorgy has anything to answer in this regard, or if he has been roped into the current HCCC investigation into Messrs Juanas and Mamblona of Elias Pharmacy, which is related to the recent raid on Mr Sam Cohen’s IHRB on 24 July 2014.

A search at AHPRA shows Mr Talat Gory's Registration.

A search at AHPRA shows Mr Talat Gory’s Registration.

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