Entitled fraudster and new mum who was so desperate to look ‘wealthy’ she stole $180K with a brazen Medicare scam learns that she IS going to jail despite having a baby

  • Sarah Ward, 31, ripped off  $181,121 from Medicare
  • Ward had previous fraud conviction for robbing a hospital
  • The mum of two had been desperate to look good to mates
  • She got pregnant while awaiting justice 
  • Judge said she’s going to jail with her baby  

A rampant fraudster who ripped-off Medicare to pay for her lavish lifestyle hoped that having a baby would spare her from a stint in jail. 

Sarah Ward, 31, of Noble Park North – in Melbourne‘s southeast – was working as a receptionist at the Melbourne Digestive Clinic when she put through hundreds of fraudulent Medicare claims totalling $181,121 for herself and her husband. 

It was not the first time she had illegally sponged taxpayers, with a prior conviction in 2015 for a $29,000 fraud against a Melbourne hospital.

Walk of shame: Sarah Ward leaves the County Court of Victoria on Wednesday in what will be her last hours of freedom

Walk of shame: Sarah Ward leaves the County Court of Victoria on Wednesday in what will be her last hours of freedom 

The court heard Ward’s thieving was motivated by her desperate need to ‘present an affluent appearance to others’.

She made up to 80 claims a day between March 2019 and when she was caught in April 2020.

Court documents state over the year she submitted 781 false Medicare patient claims in her own name and 828 in the name of her husband, Morton Ward, before the clinic’s accountants tipped off Medicare and authorities.

Ward had banked on being handed a ‘get out of jail free card’ because she became pregnant after getting caught, and that baby is now an 11-month old child who she continues to breastfeed. 

Her barrister, Michael Allen, attempted to convince County Court of Victoria Judge Geoff Chettle that jailing his client would ‘lead to a deterioration in her child’s health and well-being’.

But on Wednesday the court heard Ward’s plans had come undone because her child would be able to live with her in jail through the state’s Living With Mum Program. 

Judge Geoff Chettle said the only reason he was allowing Ward free on bail while awaiting her sentence was because the program only kicked-in after he had decided how long he was going to jail her. 

‘If the child couldn’t go that would have made it more difficult for her so I’ll leave her on bail until I sentence her,’ he said. 

The court heard Ward had shown little concern for the health and wellbeing of sick children when she repeatedly defrauded Australia’s health system. 

Ward pleaded guilty to a single charge of obtaining a financial advantage by deception from a Commonwealth entity.

Sarah Ward hoped her breast feeding child might keep her out of jail. She was wrong

Sarah Ward hoped her breast feeding child might keep her out of jail. She was wrong 

Ward's baby will now be forced to go to jail with his vile mother, who ripped off sick Australians

Ward’s baby will now be forced to go to jail with his vile mother, who ripped off sick Australians 

Forensic psychologist Patrick Newton told the court Ward was motivated to steal because she had come from a poor family and was bullied at school. 

‘Ms Ward concluded that unless she could demonstrate overtly her worthiness by accumulating the external trappings of success, she would be destined to experience recurrent rejection and so remain on the periphery of social groups as she had during her youth,’ he told the court. 

‘Ms Ward seems to have reasoned that she must either take advantage of the situation to enhance her ability to present an affluent appearance to others or else be doomed to face continued rejection and ostracism.’

Judge Chettle was scathing of Ward’s offending.   

‘This is really 1600 crimes committed over the course of a year … on a daily basis she was rorting the system,’ he said.

As part of her job, Ward had access to the Medicare patient claims system and used that to make false claims for consultations with the two doctors who supervised her at the clinic.

Crown prosecutor Adam Murphy accused Ward of ‘robbery of the Australian community’.

He further dismissed Ward’s attempts to convince Judge Chettle that she was suffering from a ‘personality disorder’ that compelled her to be steal. 

‘Patrick Newton … said word for word “that none of the offender’s traits either individually or in combination are sufficiently severe to reach the level of a personality disorder”,’ Mr Murphy said. 

The court heard Ward had secured another job with a psychology practice, whose owners were oblivious to her previous and current offending. 

‘That’s problematic,’ Judge Chettle suggested. 

The court heard Ward has repaid the money in full, taking $100,000 from a mortgage offset account and selling a $70,000 car. She also borrowed money from her mother.

Ward will enjoy another day of freedom before her sentence on Friday.  


Ward has a prior conviction for obtaining property by deception contrary in relation to her fraudulent manipulation of patient claims between November 2, 2015 and December 24, 2015 while employed at Cabrini Health in Hawthorn East. 

She committed that offence by lodging false patient refund forms in the names of Cabrini patients, as a result of which she received a combined total of approximately $29,981.96 in patient refund payments to which she was not entitled.

Ward was sentenced on August 17, 2017 to a Community Correction Order for a term of 12 months.

SHe is now employed with a psychology practice. 

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