Locked Up! - Lawyer Faces Prison Over 50 Fraud Convictions

Locked Up! - Lawyer Faces Prison Over 50 Fraud Convictions
In April 2023 a legal professional operating as a solicitor was brought to justice at the Hove Trial Centre and received a custodial imprisonment term of approximately five-years connected to allegations of fraud against clients of a legal services provider and duping such persons who placed faith in the lawyer to safeguard their monies and cheating them out of approximately two-million pounds of designated client account cash. This sentencing appears to have followed the SDT ruling banning the lawyer from operating in the office of solicitor and dished out a financial sanction of twenty-thousand pounds.    

What Happened In The Case?

The lawyer had been successful. He was the proprietor of a legal services provider, specializing in family and property law. However, this unraveled when unbeknown to him the SRA was notified about approximately fifty client claims complaining that the lawyer had stolen around two-million pounds of client monies from the designated account reserved for client monies. 

Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out…

When the lawyer was held accountable in the Criminal Court, he admitted acting illegally on seven occasions by thieving approximately two-million pounds of client monies by paying it directly into his private bank facility.     

What Did the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal Say?

The SDT was scathing over the lawyer’s conduct and struck him off the roll for stealing client monies, charging excessively, and acting unprofessionally. The regulator was damning because the Law Society was forced to pay out over four-million pounds in remedial payments to affected clients. 

Lessons Learned? 

Lawyers need to be carefully considering the facts of this case and remembering the messages pouring out of it. If such persons are to mitigate the very real risk of losing their permission granted by the regulatory authorities to operate in the legal profession in the office of a solicitor they should be strongly considering taking the following action in this regard: 

  • having positioned at the forefront of their minds the fact that monies placed in the backing facility reserved for client monies belong to clients and are regarded as ‘sacrosanct’ in the eyes of both the SRA and the wider profession
  • not paying client monies into their personal bank account facilities
  • the reasoning behind this way of thinking is attributable to the fact that people’s involvement with legal professionals is inextricably linked to their hopes and dreams for the future
  • the wider purposes they can be involved with include but are not limited to opening a corporate body, purchasing a property by way of title transfer, and implement a strategy to assist a person to retire 
  • equally as important any detriments suffered in this regard can have a huge hard-hitting impact for the reason that it dramatically impacted the confidence of the broader public place in the legal industry. 
  • they should remember that corporations and persons place their confidence in the profession and expect legal professionals to protect money belonging to them
  • to underline the importance of this case the SRA warns lawyers to remain cautious when safeguarding client monies 
  • the regulator commented that if such legal professionals do not guard these monies client day-to-day lives they can be adversely impacted and 
  • it can lead to negative consequences for closely associated persons.  

Lawyers following this cautious strategic course will mitigate against the risk of being found castigated by the legal profession.    
If you as a reader have experienced something similar, or have an opposing point of view, please kindly leave a comment on the article or contact us. 
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