The 'E-Mail Doctor', as he was dubbed by the presiding judge, was sentenced to four years in prison for awarding a total of 278 false medical certificates to both hobby and professional pilots, as well as for fraudulent bankruptcy claims. The doctor had signed blank health certificates, which his secretary later filled out after performing the medical examinations. The secretary was fined a total of €3750 for her role in the case, the Kempten regional court said on Thursday.
After three of his other practices went bankrupt, the doctor found himself unable to personally attend to the Kempten clinic, according to defence testimony. The doctor then left the practice in the hands of his medical secretary, who handed out the endorsed health certificates.
All medical examination results were received per e-mail and reviewed by the doctor prior to any certificates being distributed, the defence argued, saying he simply wanted to maintain the clinic and continue to employ his medical secretary.
The shady situation finally came to light, however, when officials discovered a 60-year-old pilot with congenital paralysis had been awarded a health certificate making him eligible to fly. The certificate was traced back to the Kempten doctor, who was arrested as he returned from the UK, where he had been examining Royal Air Force Pilots prior to their dispatch to Iraq.