A banned doctor broke down in tears as he was jailed for six years for stealing a Kent medic's identity.

Levon Mkhitarian, 36, of Renaissance Walk, treated more than 3,000 patients by fraudulently posing as a qualified locum doctor for almost two years.

Despite having been struck off, the US citizen originally from Georgia, used fake bank statements, a CV and bills to identify himself as an existing doctor, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The father-of-one, wearing a dark blue jumper over a light blue shirt, bowed his head and wept as he was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court yesterday (July 17).

Judge Adele Williams told him he had behaved in an "arrogant and calculating way" and damaged confidence in the NHS.

She said: "In my judgment, you compromised and put in jeopardy the safety and welfare of sick and vulnerable people because you wanted to practise as a doctor and earn a living doing so.

"You wrongly believed, in my judgment, that you would cause no harm in doing so because you believed that you were properly qualified.

"You damaged confidence in the NHS and doctors. Patients are entitled to believe that they are going to be treated by a properly qualified doctor."

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Levon Mkhitarian pleaded guilty to 22 charges.

The judge said there was no evidence that Mkhitarian had harmed any patients but added that he had caused "significant financial loss" to the NHS after being paid more than £85,000.

He admitted 22 charges including fraud, making articles for use in frauds and obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception.

Police said that Mkhitarian had worked in "at least nine hospitals" under the guise of Dr B.

Whilst working at the North London Hospital's Trust the GMC found that he had falsified an email purporting to be from the regulatory body which stated that he was fit for a role he was applying for.

It led to his formal suspension in August 2013, from which point he was unable to practise as a doctor, and he was struck off almost a year later.

But weeks before his suspension the fraudster had already set up an email address in the name of Dr B and created false documents which he used to apply for locum positions.

Jim Harvey, for the prosecution, told the court: "It has been calculated that the defendant had received payments totalling £85,004.04 for work obtained using his false documentation.

"All of these payments were made to him through a shell company. During this time the defendant came into contact with 3,363 patients, all of whom have now been written to by the NHS.

"In each and every case their medical notes have been reviewed by a consultant along with a medical director.

"During this time he undertook work that he was not qualified to perform on cancer wards, transplant wards, in general surgery, cardio wards, A&E on call, elderly wards and other general wards."

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Mkhitarian was caught when the HR department at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford (pictured) tried to issue a smart card and realised one was already issued to a doctor in that name.

Simon Ray, defending, said in mitigation that his client had not been motivated by greed to fund a "lavish lifestyle" and that he felt "more than remorse, a real sense of shame".

He also claimed that Mkhitarian had come to find work in the UK because of his admiration for the NHS and that following the disciplinary action he had tried and failed to get another job, even applying to work at Starbucks.

"He was ashamed and unable to admit the loss of his job to his wife and that led to the disastrous decision to continue to practise as a doctor," Mr Ray said.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Gossett of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: "It was a carefully constructed fraud and Mkhitarian had dedicated a lot of time to it as officers found many drafts of his forged documents.

"Most doctors' careers are built on reputation, training and trust, and that is something he decided was easier to steal from a genuine doctor, rather than earn.

"In this particular case the risk of harm to patients was not high but nevertheless his actions were selfish and reckless.

"Mkhitarian is now behind bars and will hopefully use that time to realise the severity of his actions, both for himself and those affected."