UK: Fake psychiatrist treating patients for 22 years

Great Britain
Fake psychiatrist has been treating patients for more than 20 years and making a fortune from it

Fooled health authorities in the UK with a fake uni certificate: Zholia A., pictured here by Cumbria County Police

© Cumbria Constabulary

She owned several properties, loved champagne and drove an expensive sports car: A woman in Britain is said to have made a fortune as a psychiatrist for 22 years, despite not having a medical degree.

In the dock, she is said to have put her head in her hands and wept: A woman in Britain has been sentenced to seven years in prison for practicing for years as a psychiatrist without the necessary qualifications, using forged documents, according to Cumbria Police and UK police media report. Manchester Crown Court found Zholia A. guilty of 13 counts of fraud, three counts of fraudulent gain, two counts of forgery and two counts of using a false document.

Fake psychiatrist practicing across the UK

According to the police, the alleged psychiatrist had registered as a doctor with the British Medical Association in 1995 and submitted numerous forged documents, including a diploma from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, a letter of confirmation and a letter of reference from a hospital in Pakistan. After gaining accreditation, she practiced across the UK for years.

In 2003, according to the police, Zholia A. obtained the status of a specialist after passing the examination before the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In 2012, the impostor was registered as a “Section 12 Doctor,” giving her the authority to make medical recommendations necessary for compulsory hospitalization of patients. In order to be licensed as a Section 12 Doctor, doctors in the UK must have particular experience in the treatment or diagnosis of mental disorders.

Zholia A. reportedly earned the equivalent of almost 1.5 million euros during her time as a psychiatrist. She owned several properties, collected expensive champagne bottles and drove a red Lotus sports car, as reported by the “Manchester Evening News”.

The scammer was exposed after trying to cheat an 84-year-old patient out of the equivalent of almost 1.5 million euros in Cumbria in 2018. A court sentenced her to five years in prison. Phil Coleman, a reporter for the local newspaper News & Star, became interested in the case and did further research and found that Zholia A. had studied medicine in New Zealand for a while but never graduated.

Coleman informed the British health authority, which then launched an extensive international investigation. The forged documents were secured and the police found out that the hospital in Pakistan that Zholia A. had given as a reference did not exist.

Chief investigator calls Zholia A. “a manipulative criminal”

“This was a most unusual case involving a skilled fraud that was conducted and sustained over a number of years,” lead investigator Matt Scott said after the sentencing. The convict was “a manipulative criminal who fraudulently secured a critical healthcare position that involved great responsibility for people’s lives, despite never acquiring the most basic qualifications to begin her career .” Scott also thanked reporter Coleman for his reporting and research into the case.

Judge Hilary Manley also called for an investigation into how the medical board was able to approve Zholia A. as a psychiatrist when the paperwork she submitted was “clearly false.” On one of the documents, the impostor had even misspelled the word “verify.”

Sources: Cumbria Constabulary, “Manchester Evening News”, BBC, Sky News.

source site-1