From today onwards, if you claim to be a doctor - and you’re not one - you could face a three-year jail term, along with a whopping $60,000 fine.
The new laws in effect from today mean the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) can impose tougher penalties - with the $60,000 fine more than double the previous $28,000 fine.
Related article: An App to Book Doctors Appointments Is Now Worth $1.1 Billion
The AHPRA is taking aim at any individual who falsely claims they’re a medical practitioner, psychologist, dentist, pharmacist, chiropractor, podiatrist or optometrist, without the proper qualifications.
The most recent successful prosecution of a fake doctor was in July last year, where APRA prosecuted Raffaele Di Paolo for purporting to be a registered obstetrician and gynaecologist. ‘
Di Paolo had no tertiary qualifications, but still claimed to be a fertility specialist - and did so for more than a decade, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from around 30 victims.
The con man used a needle to remove semen from a man’s testicles without anaesthetic, and injected homeopathic substances into women’s stomachs and buttocks, SBS reported.
Di Paolo was jailed, but the AHPRA was only able to impose a $28,000 fine, prompting a law change.
The amendments to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law were initially passed by Queensland earlier this year, but were then broadened near-nationally - with Western Australia the only state yet to adopt the laws.
Make your money work with Yahoo Finance’s daily newsletter.Sign up here and stay on top of the latest money, property and tech news.