A woman who falsely presented herself as a doctor and defrauded Britain’s NHS of an estimated £1.3 million will face a “substantial” prison sentence. Zholia Alemi, of Iranian origin, had worked in various health trusts for 20 years using a forged medical degree, putting her in contact with “hundreds” of vulnerable patients. At Manchester Crown Court, she was convicted of 13 counts of fraud, three counts of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, two counts of forgery, and two counts of using a false instrument.
Judge Hilary Manley remanded Alemi into custody and asserted that “there is only one possible sentence and that will be a sentence of immediate custody of some substantial length.” The prosecution revealed that Alemi had claimed to have graduated from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and had earned between £1 million and £1.3 million from the NHS. They also informed the jury that Alemi had been convicted of three fraud offences in Carlisle Crown Court in 2018 after forging a will to make herself the beneficiary and forging powers of attorney.
The court heard that Alemi had been stopped from re-enrolling at the university in New Zealand after failing a number of years. Alemi denied forging her degree certificate and claimed she did not fail any exams in the six-year Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery course. Following her conviction, the GMC apologized for “inadequate” checks made in the 1990s and for “any risk arising to patients as a result.” Alemi’s case triggered national checks on the qualifications of more than 3,000 other doctors who came to work in the UK from outside Europe.
Detective Superintendent Matt Scott, who led the investigation, paid tribute to his team and thanked the jury for sitting through the lengthy case. Alemi will be sentenced on February 28.
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