Psychiatrist Zholia Alemi accused of rigging medical degree

A ‘fake’ psychiatrist spent two decades working for the UK’s National Health Service – earning more than $1 million – after forging his qualifications, a court has heard.

Zholia Alemi, described as ‘the most accomplished forger and fraudster’, allegedly tricked the General Medical Council (GMC) into granting her registration as a doctor and then worked for various health trusts across the UK.

Manchester Crown Court heard how Iranian-born Alemi, believed to be 60, claims he graduated as a doctor from the University of Auckland in 1992.

However, it is alleged that she never passed the six-year Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) course and failed her exams before coming to the UK three years later.

Christopher Stables, a prosecutor, said: ‘In a nutshell, the charge against this defendant is that for a period of about 20 years she stood and practiced as a physician, doctor of medicine, when in truth she had never passed or obtained the relevant university degree and was not a properly qualified doctor at all.

“It identifies the issue that is at the heart of this case, as you will hear.”

All of the charges against Alemi relate to the period from September 1995 to June 2017, after he arrived in the UK from New Zealand.

Kingdom of Zholia
Zholia Alemi is accused of practicing psychiatry with false credentials.

Stables said Alemi was a “fraud” who gained entry into the GMC Register of Physicians by falsifying his qualifications and other documents.

He explained: “She is, according to the indictment, a most accomplished forger and fraudster, but has no qualifications which would allow her to be called, or in any way to be considered a doctor. .”

Stables said Alemi used deception and fraud to get a job and that a “conservative estimate” of the money she obtained fraudulently was the US equivalent of $1.2 million to $1.5 million. dollars.

He said the defendant’s case was that she was properly qualified and that the documents showing her qualifications were all genuine, and therefore she was entitled to the compensation she received.

Kingdom of Zholia
Zholia Alemi allegedly made over $1 million with fraudulent credentials.
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Her motive was “irrelevant”, he told the jury, but she “may have simply wanted desperately to be a doctor” and, after failing her exams, forged her qualifications so “that she could practice in a area that interested or stimulated her”.

She may have simply “wanted medical status”, he said, but it was “unlikely” the true position would be known, and “the fact remains” that the sums that she got were the consequence of her dishonesty.

The court heard how Alemi was granted permission to join the GMC Medical Register through the Commonwealth route – a legitimate route, closed in 2003 – which could only be obtained if an applicant held a certain degree known as MBChB.

However, his application contained spelling and grammatical errors, with an alleged letter of verification of his medical school degree from the university coming from a faculty “registrar” instead of the registrar.

The court that the person who allegedly signed the letter had in fact left his post at that time.

Stables said the prosecution argued the documents sent by Alemi to the GMC were not genuine and were “forgeries” and were not issued by the University of Auckland.

The court heard that Alemi first enrolled at the university in 1988 for a bachelor’s degree in human biology which she earned after failing some of her exams in 1992.

Stables said the qualification did not make her a doctor and Alemi never received an MBChB degree from the University of Auckland after failing her second year exams and ‘going no further’ .

He said: ‘She never got her medical degree. And that’s why she forged the degree certificate to be sent to the GMC with her application. “All of this” was confirmed by university records, he added.

The court heard police raided one of his properties in Omagh, Northern Ireland, in 2019 and discovered a “forger’s kit”.

Stables said an expert witness would provide evidence that items found at home in a briefcase, which included dry transfer letters bought from UK store WH Smith and blank diploma papers, had been used to make the fake certificate University of Alemi.

The court heard that Alemi became a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2003, passing the first part of their exams after four attempts and the second after three attempts.

However, his membership was terminated days after his fakes were discovered, Stables said. The GMC revoked his license to practice as a doctor in November 2018.

Alemi, of Burnley, Lancashire, 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 several weeks.

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