A former NHS trust chief executive who falsely claimed to be a graduate has been given a 12-month suspended prison sentence at Shrewsbury Crown Court.
Neil Taylor was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence
Neil Taylor, of School Lane, Solihull, produced a bogus degree certificate to land the post as head of Shrewsbury & Telford Hospitals NHS Trust.
Taylor, 42, had admitted obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception and trying to commit the same crime.
He was also fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 towards costs.
Taylor had been the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital's chief executive and sought the equivalent post when its management merged with that of Telford's Princess Royal Hospital in October 2003.
Taylor was exposed when he used a logo from the wrong institution on his CV and checks revealed his graduate course did not exist.
Judge Robin Onions heard a string of glowing references from medical managers, clinicians and surgeons testifying to his ability.
One described Taylor as "a credit to the NHS", while another suggested he was likely to have obtained the £112,000-a-year post even without a degree.
But Judge Onions told him: "It seems to me that people who lie about qualifications undermine the effort of everybody who goes through a course and obtains a proper qualification.
"What's the point of me studying law for three years if I can just invent the degree?"
He added: "You have learned a heavy lesson by your deception. I hope it is a lesson that inventing a degree, qualification, O and A levels isn't a joke.
"It's serious and will be treated as such."