03 May 2019

Counsellor convicted for operating in Victoria now permanently banned from providing any general health services in two states

Drug and alcohol counsellor Robert Frank Mittiga, who also uses the alias Robert Frank and Roberto Cialdini, has been permanently banned from providing any general health services in Victoria following a similar ban in South Australia.

Health Complaints Commissioner Karen Cusack said Mr Mittiga was banned from practising in South Australia in 2015 after an investigation found he posed an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of the public.

Ms Cusack said Mr Mittiga was convicted in the Broadmeadows Magistrates Court in April 2018 for providing a health service in Victoria that he was banned from providing in South Australia.

She said Section 102 of the Health Complaints Act 2016 gives the Commissioner power to prosecute prohibition orders imposed in other states if the provider practices in Victoria.

Mr Mittiga was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, $4000 compensation to the complainant and legal costs to the Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC).

Ms Cusack said following an investigation she was satisfied Mr Mittiga had breached the code of conduct for general health service providers earlier this year.

She said the investigation found Mr Mittiga had misinformed and mislead Victorians by advertising drug and alcohol counselling via social media, under the names Roberto Cialdini and Robert Frank.

At the time of advertising his services, Mr Mittiga was banned in South Australia.

“If a provider has been banned in another state or territory they will not be permitted to manoeuvre around the ban by hopping across the border to practice in Victoria,” Ms Cusack said.

“Victorians must be protected from unsafe and unethical healthcare practices.

“Where we identify providers who come to Victoria to offer services when banned elsewhere we will prosecute them, and, as in this case, we will take additional action to protect Victorians by investigating any further breaches of the code of conduct for general health service providers.”

Ms Cusack said the prohibition order banned Mr Mittiga from advertising, offering or providing any general health service in Victoria, paid or otherwise and in a clinical or non-clinical capacity.

“I believe it’s necessary to impose this permanent ban to avoid a serious risk to the health, safety or welfare of the public,” Ms Cusack said.

She said providers who contravene prohibition orders could be subject to significant fines or imprisonment.