The NHS paid the “most accomplished fraudster” between £1m and £1.3m over the nearly two decades she posed as a qualified doctor after forging a degree certificate, a court has heard.
Zholia Alemi, believed to be 60, worked as a psychiatrist in the UK for 19 years after claiming she graduated from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, a trial at Manchester crown court was heard. .
The defendant is charged with 20 crimes, including forgery and fraud, which she denies.
Opening the case, Christopher Stables, the prosecutor, said: “To put it bluntly, the defendant is a fraud.
“Although she was posing as a doctor, she was absolutely not qualified to do so.”
Stables said Alemi forged a degree certificate and verification letter purported to have come from the University of Auckland, which he later submitted to the General Medical Council (GMC) in 1995, with the aim of becoming a UK registered doctor. .
She said that Alemi had misled the GMC into accepting that she was a fully qualified doctor through “false claims about what her experience had been”.
“Instead of passing it [medical] the exams, she actually failed them and was never graded at all,” Stables said.
“In fact, he had obtained entry into the GMC physician registry, but he had done so through fraud; falsifying her qualifications and other documents, which induced the GMC to accept her as genuine”.
He joined the GMC medical record using the legitimate Commonwealth route, the jury was told.
The court heard that Alemi had practiced as a doctor in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland between 1998 and 2017, “literally across the country,” according to Stables.
During this period, she worked in various health bodies and trusts, was at times employed by the NHS, and secured positions through recruitment or staffing agencies, where she was paid.
Stables said: “A conservative estimate, and I stress a conservative estimate, in terms of amount, so the total amount of money fraudulently obtained by the defendant from the NHS, is somewhere, say the prosecution, between £1 million and £1.3 million. ”
The basic medical qualification and degree that all doctors in the UK must have – BSc, BSc – is almost always achieved after successfully completing a six-year study period, Stables told the jury.
The court heard that in 1991, the defendant passed the first stage of her degree, obtaining a degree in human biology, and was not allowed to repeat the year after failing the second year of the second part of the medical degree, degree in surgery, which would not qualify her to be a doctor.
Stables said he believed Alemi was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1962. Records show that she had married a New Zealand citizen in 1987 and her occupation was listed as a nurse.
By 1995, she was living in the UK at an address in Winchester, Hampshire, the court was told.
Stables said: “This defendant at all times posed as a psychiatrist despite not having a genuine medical degree.
“He decided to achieve by falsification what he had not achieved by academic study.
“She never completed the course. She did not pass and therefore she cannot have been awarded the title she claims to have.”
The jury hearing Alemi’s case was that she was duly qualified and that the documents proving her qualifications were genuine.
She denies 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.
The trial is expected to last four to five weeks.