A barrister for a Portland doctor who defrauded $800,000 from his patients says residents isolated him from his community because he was caught with child porn.
Abbie Roodenburg said it was that isolation which in part led Abraham Stephanson, previously Stephanopoulos, 50, to suffer from a pathological gambling addiction.
The now-suspended GP has admitted to defrauding his patients of hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to fund his habit.
Stephanson appeared in the County Court of Victoria on Tuesday for a part-heard plea hearing before Judge George Georgiou.
The former Seaport Medical Centre doctor accepted payments from 18 patients and one local pharmacy employee between October, 2019 and December, 2020. The payments ranged from $5000 to $120,000.
He also attempted to obtain $25,000 in funds but was unsuccessful.
The victims were told Stephanson was funding his father's international cancer treatment.
But not a cent went to his dad, with the majority transferred into his Betfair online gambling account.
The GP repaid $190,418 prior to his arrest.
More than $620,000 remains outstanding to his victims, including one who died last month.
The court previously heard Stephanson moved to Portland in 2009 following a name change after being convicted of possessing child pornography in the early 2000s.
He successfully fought to keep his medical registration, which included a condition to not treat anyone under 18.
But on Tuesday the court heard Portland residents were quick to uncover Stephanson's secret and he was later the victim of property damage, graffiti and violence.
Ms Roodenburg said between January 2016 and 2020, Stephanson was the victim of multiple burglaries at his home.
She said on one occasion there was a graffiti attack inside his property which referred to the man as a paedophile.
A number of residents were also banned from Stephanson's medical clinic in Portland due to threats being made against him, Ms Roodenburg said.
She said her client's isolation from the community was linked to his diagnosis of a pathological gambling addiction, which he was now medicated for.
She said Stephanson also had an unrelated diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder.
Ms Roodenburg said her client's mental health disorders clouded his judgement at the time of the offending and he didn't believe his actions were illegal.
But she said he now demonstrated a "clear insight into the impact of his actions on the victims and he is deeply remorseful".
Prosecutor Jessica Fallar said Stephanson had shown a significant degree of planning.
Ms Fallar said he met some of his victims at his clinic and drew up contracts, some of which he signed using his medical stamp.
She said he then created a "ring of silence" between victims by asking them to keep the financial transactions confidential.
Ms Fallar said this led Stephanson's patients, most of which were elderly, to feel a sense of privilege or honour and then "open their pockets and hearts".
She said the doctor could then move easily from one victim to the next.
Stephanson is expected to re-pay his remaining victims following the sale of his house, which settles next week.
The court heard the man would no longer reside in the south-west after the sale.
Stephanson, who remains on bail, will be sentenced at a later date.
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