Willenhall woman who posed as hospital dentist jailed

A woman who admitted working as a dentist in hospitals, despite not being qualified, has been jailed.

Vinisha Sharma, 37, of Willenhall, West Midlands, admitted forging qualifications and earning £230,000 by deception and was jailed for three years.

She wrongly claimed to have a degree from the Sri Guru Ram Das institute in India, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

Sharma admitted seven counts of fraud and forgery in September last year.

Her deception was uncovered amid claims she had removed the wrong teeth from a patient.

'Highly criminal'

The court heard Sharma, of Honeybourne Way, had failed a three-year dentistry course, but then got work as a senior house officer by claiming to have a Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree.

The General Dental Council did not check the authenticity of her degree certificate when she applied to register in January 2000.

Judge Amjad Nawaz said her offences, committed over nearly nine years, were "pre-determined and deliberate" breaches of the public's trust.

"It does seem to me that the level at which this offending took place, and the organisation which must have gone behind it in order to obtain the documents, was very pre-determined and, in those circumstances, highly criminal," he said.

'Extensive inquiries'

Sharma worked at NHS trusts in Wolverhampton, Burton-on-Trent, Southend, Basildon, Peterborough and East Grinstead.

Colin Aylott, representing Sharma, told the court that her life was ruined and she was now living with her parents.

"Her whole life, by virtue of what has happened to her, is in ruins," he said.

"She, to be frank, has lost everything."

Mick Hayes, operational fraud manager at the NHS Counter Fraud Service, said: "Because Sharma initially denied the charges, extensive inquiries had to be made in India to locate and bring to the UK a number of key witnesses.

"Only when faced with their evidence did she finally change her plea to guilty."

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