Lawyer Struck Off For Giving False Impression On Ability To Pay
In mid-October 2022, legal industry regulator The Solicitors Regulation Authority handed down a judgment to a legal professional after the criminal courts had imposed seven criminal convictions upon him for fraudulent criminal activities involving a business specializing in the sale of event tickets and fireworks. The events which occurred in the case are a warning to any established legal professional or those with an ambition to enter the legal profession regarding purporting to give a false impression to a customer of an ability to pay for goods.
What Happened In The Case?
The case facts coalesced around a legal professional who had accrued around three years of post-qualification expertise from 2010 who left his position in private practice for more lucrative legitimate business in the sale of fireworks. He demonstrated commitment to his new business venture by seemingly investing monies to set up the company with Companies House, approaching wholesalers to submit orders, and investing approximately four thousand pounds. Their seeming commitment to entrepreneurship was a laudable aim for the legal profession and by way of balance, he should be commended for his enterprising and commercial nature.
However, the wheels seemingly fell off the proverbial vehicle when evidence emerged of the legal professional attempting to make purchases from the above suppliers alluded to earlier. However, where he fell was when he had the money for the products he was purchasing from the respective supply businesses. If this had been a one-off, he had openly admitted committing some wrongdoing or other and communicated as such to the respective regulator, then this would have been looked at more leniently by the body.
And They Come Unstuck…
This was where the legal professional has seemingly come unstuck. The evidence gathered by the Regulator demonstrated that he had attempted to put forward the false impression that the business had the correct amount of monies in the respective bank account. However, this was not the case and the legal professional presented this misleading impression on no less than six separate occasions that he had the cash available to buy the products from the respective trader. This on its own was poor conduct to expect from a legal representative in this position, but the legal professional failed to see the error of his ways and continued operating in a seemingly shadily.
When the regulator continued its investigation it discovered that the Fireworks business had become involved in more questionable transactions. The lawyer had also seemingly claimed to have approximately three hundred pounds worth of entry tickets to the Grand National and offered them for sale online.
However, the truth finally caught up with him when the Regulator received evidence that the extraordinarily the tickets never existed. The lawyer also attempted to make purchases from four other leading retailers and also provided a similar misleading image that he had the monies to pay.
What Did The Court Of Appeal Say?
The criminal courts took a dim view of the lawyer’s conduct and made an example of him by sentencing him to a suspended twenty-four-month prison sentence.
Learning the Lesson
Legal professionals should learn lessons by:
- Having monies available to pay for goods
- Not presenting a misleading impression of having cash available to pay for such products and
- not dishonestly claiming to have tickets available when they know the case
Following this strategy will lower the risk of legal professionals finding themselves having their feet held to the fire in the criminal courts and at the mercy of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
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THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES
[SOURCE 1] Hyde, John – Grand National and Fireworks fraudster agrees on strike-off – Law Society Gazette – 10 October 2022 - CV fraudster must repay some wages, Supreme Court rules | News | Law Gazette
[SOURCE 2] Hilborne, Nick – Grand National fraudster struck off as a solicitor – Legal Futures – 12 October 2022 - Grand National fraudster struck off as a solicitor - Legal Futures
[SOURCE 3] Hamilton, Jamie – Fireworks fraud lawyer agrees to strike off – 14 October 2022 – Roll on Friday - Fireworks fraud solicitor agrees strike off | RollOnFriday