31 January 2013

Doctored and dobbed in

The history of identity offences features a succession of people who've reinforced their ego or played out private fantasies by appropriating a white coat and pretending to be a medical practitioner, in particular a specialist - embodiment of medical authority - in a hospital.

Australian Barry Faulkner came to police attention in 1968 when he posed as a doctor at Royal Brisbane Hospital, conducting bogus examinations on pregnant women. He subsequently purported to be a US Air Force colonel, a US Marine Corps officer, Mike Nesmith of boy band The Monkees, a CIA agent, a gynaecologist, an Olympic official and pilots for Virgin Blue, Ansett, Canadian Airlines, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Lauda Air.

 In 2008 Faulkner was reportedly sought by police in Queensland and NSW over scams in which he posed as an employee of an airport-based courier firm, using forged documentation to persuade victims that he could supply cheap motorcycles, perfume and jewellery. In 2006 he was reportedly sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment for fraud and failing to report to police as a child sex offender.

There has not been a conviction in the recent South Australian medical impersonation case, where a teenager late last year reportedly visited Adelaide hospitals and pretended to be a doctor.

AdelaideNow today states that the young man has now
been arrested for administering a prescription drug, aggravated assault and identity theft. 
Police allege the southern suburbs 17 year-old assisted a 12-year-old girl who had received minor injuries ....
The youth allegedly claimed to be medically qualified to examine the girl and administered a prescription drug which was not prescribed to her. 
Police allege he is not qualified to a level which would entitle him to act in the capacity of a medical professional and he did so under false pretences.
It is claimed that the wannabe Doogie Howser had been sighted on the grounds of Flinders Medical Centre wearing scrubs, an FMC lanyard and stethoscope; he had also has been seen in the city posing as a clinician. Media coverage included references to the bogus practitioner "prowling the wards".

In December the Australian stated that SA Health chief executive David Swan had indicated
What we've done is issue our staff with a photograph of the individual, we've heightened security in relation to being aware of this individual and reinforced with our staff the policies and protocols with regards to identification.
The report at that time commented "While police have spoken to the teen he has not actually committed an offence".

The Department of Immigration & Citizenship has meanwhile announced that
A man pleaded guilty today in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court to multiple counts of immigration fraud involving his entry and stay in Australia under false identities. 
[A] spokesman said the man, a UK citizen, obtained permanent residence by providing false information to the department, used false identities to travel into and out of Australia over the past decade, and fraudulently applied for an Australian passport to facilitate further travel. … 
“This man’s arrest and prosecution is part of a DIAC-led national identity fraud campaign involving cooperation with state, Commonwealth and international agencies to identify criminal activity through data matching activities.” 
In this investigation, the department was provided specialist forensic assistance by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT), which led to the man’s arrest by Australian Federal Police in October last year. 
The investigation included the use of electronic facial recognition software now being used by a number of state and federal government agencies. 
Electronic facial recognition software is used to identify people who are believed to have created, stolen or assumed a false identity to facilitate crimes. … 
People with information about suspected immigration fraud are encouraged to call the Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800 009 623.
Delation is, of course, as Australian as Phar Lap, Aussie Rules and meat pies.