‘Fake doctor’ prosecuted by Chris Stables and Charlotte Atherton sentenced to 7 years in prison

March 1, 2023

Chris Stables and Charlotte Atherton from Exchange Chambers have successfully prosecuted a bogus doctor who forged medical qualifications and letters of verification, allegedly from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and used the forged documents fraudulently to secure registration with the GMC as a doctor able to work in the UK.  The defendant subsequently secured positions across the UK as a hospital psychiatrist.

Zholia Alemi was convicted by the jury of 2 counts of forgery, 2 counts of using a false instrument, and 16 specimen counts of fraud representing the entirety of her career earnings.  The trial concluded with the guilty verdicts at Manchester Crown Court (Crown Square) on 15th February 2023.  Today, 28th February 2023, Alemi has been jailed for seven years.  At the sentencing hearing, Judge Hilary Manley also called for an inquiry to be held into how the GMC registered her as a doctor, when the documents she submitted were “clearly false”.

Over a period in excess of twenty years, Alemi worked as an NHS psychiatrist in hospitals throughout England and Wales, fraudulently receiving income and benefits exceeding £1m.  A conservative estimate as to the extent of her fraud was put by the prosecution at £1.3m.  In truth, she had never achieved the foundation medical degree of MBChB, and had been rejected by the University having failed the necessary examinations.

The investigation was conducted by Cumbria Police who secured the necessary evidence as to the absence of her qualifications from the University of Auckland.  During the 6 week trial, the evidence of witnesses from the University was given by live video-link from New Zealand.  Highly incriminating documents and items were recovered from a house owned by the defendant in Northern Ireland.  In addition, expert evidence was called to establish the fraudulent nature of the documents sent to the GMC in order to achieve entry onto the medical register.

The prosecution will now pursue confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, in an effort to seize the defendant’s assets and to recoup as much of the losses suffered by the NHS as possible.