A woman who faked having a medical degree from a New Zealand university prescribed medicine to more than 160 patients at one mental facility alone.

More details have emerged about Iranian-Kiwi Zholia Alemi, who was jailed for fraud last year after she had worked as a psychiatrist in the United Kingdom for more than 20 years.

The then 56-year-old's fake qualifications were only discovered when she tried to fraudulently alter an elderly patient's will in order to inherit up to £1.3 million ($2.4m) of the woman's fortune.

The BBC reported today that Alemi prescribed medication to a total of 164 patients at the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust - a large mental health trust - in 2014 and 2015.


The trust is part of the National Health Service Foundation Trust. Alemi worked as a psychiatrist for the organisation for 22 years.

She was able to work in the UK after reportedly providing bosses with a bachelor of surgery and a bachelor of medicine certificates from the University of Auckland.

The tertiary institution confirmed at the time of her arrest that records showed she did start a medical degree, but did not complete it.

She did, however, have a degree in human biology.

Under a Freedom of Information request, the BBC was told that checks were carried out before appointing Alemi.

However, her contract was immediately terminated when concerns were raised.

A spokesman for the Norfolk and Suffolk Trust said the General Medical Council had carried out all necessary checks at the time.

However, the medical council has come out apologising for its "inadequate" checking systems in the 1990s.


As a result of Alemi's actions, her former patients have all been contacted and told to seek medical attention if they had concerns. The medical council's checks are also more robust now.

A spokesman for the Norfolk and Suffolk Trust said: "As an added measure, if we receive a CV from an agency which refers to qualifications or first registration in the 1990s, we will flag this up with the [medical council] to double check."