Unusual and Questionable Transactions
I have advised in connection with numerous transactions that were called “dubious”, “questionable” or sufficiently unusual to catch the eye of the SRA.
In the 1990s and 2000s mortgage fraud was at its highest along with bank instrument fraud, advance fee fraud, Ponzi schemes, Boiler Room scams, and fraudulent investment schemes. Firms of solicitors became involved in these either unwittingly or deliberately and I developed an expertise in these transactions.
All such schemes involve the provision of false information to clients or third parties, together with a misuse of client account and the good name of the solicitors’ profession and its insurers which people and institutions trust.
The SRA, and the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors before it, have for years given warnings to solicitors about their wider obligations and whilst the labels attached to such schemes have changed the basic principles have not. Participation in transactions or schemes which undermine integrity or damage the professions’ reputation will attract attention.
I have particular expertise in:
- Mortgage frauds and the failure to act properly for lenders and others;
- Dealing with fictitious law firms;
- Fraudulent sales of properties;
- Advance fee frauds and Ponzi schemes;
- Misuse of a client account;
- Money laundering;
- Stamp Duty Land Tax Avoidance Schemes, extended now to aggressive tax avoidance schemes generally;
- Participation in false claims such as personal injury, holiday sickness, payment protection insurance. These are market sector issues that the SRA has warned about;
- Professional undertakings if they form part of a fraudulent transactions;
- Loss of client money to fraudsters;
- Allowing a solicitor’s name and insured status to lend authenticity to a dubious transaction which defrauds clients and the public.
- In my experience many of these have come to light as a result of just one or two people in a large firm, but others have involved entire firms.
Participation does not always involve dishonesty or lack of integrity but the SRA looks at them seriously. Dealing with SRA investigations into these requires experience and judgment, and I can provide these.
I understand how to analyse these transactions and how to apply professional rules to them. It requires a comprehensive understanding of the SRA Accounts Rules and Principles and how they interrelate.
I have considerable experience of analysing audit trails, accounts, and ledgers and connected documents.
I know what to look for and I understand how the SRA investigates these transactions.