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Fake doctor imprisoned for forgery and fraud costing the taxpayer over £1m

|News, Fraud and economic crime

A bogus doctor has been jailed today (28 February) for forging her medical qualifications and fraudulently securing positions as a hospital psychiatrist.

Zholia Alemi (DOB: 23/12/1962), of Cumbria, has previously been found guilty of 13 counts of fraud, two counts of forgery, three counts of deception and two counts of using material to falsify medical qualifications and was sentenced to serve seven years imprisonment at Manchester Crown Court.

Over a twenty-year period, Alemi worked as a NHS psychiatrist in hospitals in England, Wales, and Scotland, earning income and benefits over £1m. She never held the medical qualifications necessary to undertake these roles.

Cumbria Police obtained evidence to prove that Alemi forged her medical qualifications at the University of Auckland to gain entry to the General Medical Council register. In reality, Alemi had dropped out of her university course after the first year. She was then able to gain employment in various hospitals based on this fraud.

Alemi joined the medical register in the UK under a section of the Medical Act which has not been used since 2003. The section allowed graduates of medical schools in certain Commonwealth countries, including New Zealand, to obtain registration based on a qualification in their originating country.

As a result, Alemi did not have to sit and pass the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board exam (Plab), an assessment of skills which is usually required of doctors who qualified abroad.

Janice Wild of the CPS said: “Alemi used forged New Zealand medical qualifications to obtain employment as a UK NHS psychiatrist for 20 years. In doing so, she must have treated hundreds of patients when she was unqualified to do so, potentially putting them at risk.

“Her fraudulent actions also enabled her to dishonestly earn income and benefits in excess of £1m, to which she was not entitled.

“We will now pursue confiscation proceedings against her aiming to recover the criminal property from which she has benefitted.”

The CPS is committed to working closely with other law enforcement agencies to bring justice to bear on those who defraud our public services.

Notes to editors

  • Janice Wild is a Specialist Prosecutor in the Regional and Wales Division of the CPS Serious Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate (SEOCID)
  • SEOCID is the CPS’s response to the changing nature of crime by bringing together specialists from organised and economic crime, as well as asset recovery, in one Directorate
  • Zholia Alemi (DOB: 23/12/1962) has been found guilty of 13 counts of fraud, two counts of forgery, three counts of deception and two counts of using material to fake medical qualification and sentenced to seven years imprisonment at Manchester Crown Court.

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