Greedy Immigration Specialist Struck Off For Embezzling Client Monies

Later into February 2023, the Solicitors Regulation Authority through the medium of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal handed down its judgment to a legal professional who had achieved the accolade of solicitor and a place on the Roll of Solicitors which permitted him to operate as a solicitor. The judgment handed down by the industry regulator had the effect of unceremoniously striking the legal professional off the prestigious Roll. The matter seems to have been taken so seriously because the evidence submitted to the SDT suggested that the legal professional had neglected in his professional duties and obligations to document the identity of clients instruct the legal services provider and transmit client monies into a designated account reserved for their funds. 

What Happened In The Case?

Looking back at the circumstances the legal professional commenced his legal career in approximately 2015. He had been employed in his capacity  as a paralegal at a Luton-based provider of legal services. The legal professional appears to have impressed the provider and seemingly appears to have rewarded him with a traineeship. His subsequent completion of this entitled him to a place on the prestigious Roll of Solicitors allowing him to practise immigration law. 
Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out…

All appeared to be progressing well surface-level for the legal professional. However, matters disintegrated when the provider investigated his and uncovered documentary evidence suggesting that the legal professional had received client monies and requested them to be paid into his personal private bank account. The matter was taken so seriously by the provider because evidence showed that the legal professional had not just asked clients to transfer monies to his personal private bank account once but on over forty separate occasions. Inexplicably including under his traineeship. 

When the provider confronted the legal professional with the evidence from its internal investigation he came clean and as a result, the legal services provider decided to terminate his employment contract, and the regulator was notified. When the regulator investigated it found evidence suggesting that the provider was alerted to the legal professional’s behavior when a client attended the office requesting an update on their file and appears to have claimed that just shy of one thousand three hundred pounds of client money had been paid to the legal professional directly into his personal private bank account facility. However, no file was ever recorded on the system or in a paper format. The legal professional claimed he had overlooked recording the matter on the database, had lost and the information and monies before transferring them to the provider of legal services. 
However, this explanation did not wash and evidence suggested that this was behavior being exhibited by the legal professional, and eventually, in excess of, forty matters were uncovered whereby client monies over forty thousand pounds appeared to have been transferred into his personal private banking facility.  

Lessons Learned?

Those aspiring for a career in the legal profession need to be mindful of the prospect of ruining their careers and need to be: 

  • ensuring they are opening client files on the case management system
  • directing clients to pay their monies into a designated client account at the firm 
  • avoiding the temptation to pocket client monies into their private bank accounts
  • regularly communicate openly and honestly with clients on the progress of their matters and
  • acting with honesty and integrity at all times. 

If you have experienced something similar, or have an opposing viewpoint, please kindly leave a comment on the article or contact us. 
ASSESSING FIRMS
#BlakeMorgan #LClyde&CoLLP #CapsticksLLP #Hempsons #KingsleyNapleyLLP #RadcliffesLeBrasseur #BatesWells #CMS #DACBeachcroftLLP #FieldFisher #HerbertSmithFreehills #Russell-CookeLLP #BlackfordsLLP #CharlesRussellSpeechlysLLP #KeoughLLP #MurdochsSolicitors #StepehensonsSolicItorsLLP
 

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