Doctor used disabled sister’s travel pass 80 times to scrounge free transport

A junior doctor who illegally used her disabled sister's travel pass on 80 separate occasions to scrounge free public transport now faces career ruin.

Dr Sharifa Scerif exploited the Transport for London's Freedom Pass system, which is taxpayer-funded, to dodge paying as little as £170 worth of fares on Underground services, trains and buses.

The 27-year-old was convicted of fare dodging after an investigation found she had used her sister Fatima's pass for two months. She was fined £200 last year.

Scerif was eventually caught by a ticket inspector at Kings Cross Underground Station in central London, who noticed the Freedom Pass she was carrying had a photograph of her sister inside which was partially rubbed out.

The medic, who legally has an Oyster and discount Gold cards, claimed the incident was a "one-off" and lied that her three-year-old niece must have placed the card in her purse by mistake.

Now Scerif faces being struck off.

A hearing by The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester was told "bosses were concerned with the doctor's behaviour".

"A further response from Transport for London confirmed the Oyster card shows a regular pattern of usage, not an isolated incident. She used the pass deliberately on 80 occasions when she was not entitled to use the pass, and her actions of using the pass were dishonest," Kathryn Johnson, lawyer for the General Medical Council, said.

Scerif, from Islington, north London, would have paid around £170 had she used her Gold card on 80 journeys between December 2017 and January 2018.

But the Freedom Pass is a concessionary travel scheme which provides free travel to residents of Greater London who are 60 and over or who have a disability. A typical rail journey from Highbury and Islington station to Kings Cross is £4.90.

Scerif, who graduated from Birmingham University, was stopped at 7.18am on February 1, 2018 after months of deceit.

Miss Johnson added: "She [the ticket inspector] examined the pass and she saw there was a photograph on it which had rubbed off a little and the name on the pass was Fatma Scerif and not that of the doctor.

"She challenged Dr Scerif about it and asked if she had something with her name on because she didn't believe the pass had been issued for the doctor.

"But Dr Scerif said she could provide a doctors letter then produced an email with the name Sharifa Scerif saying it was a name she 'sometimes uses'. At that point a colleague of the inspector said they were about to call police and the doctor admitted it wasn't her pass, and produced a prepaid Oyster card.

"It only had a small amount of money on it, and it was last used five months earlier in October 2017. The doctor was cautioned and was asked who the disabled pass belonged to, and she said it was her sisters. She was asked why she was using it to travel and she said 'I shouldn't be'.

"She said she lives in the same room as her sister and her niece, and said her niece has often misplaced other items. She then said she was a junior doctor, recently graduated from university, and that she was imposed upon with a stressful workload expected of a new doctor working a lot of hours, and day and night shifts.

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