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Solicitors' firm closed by The Solicitors' Regulation Authority. But that's not all, folks.

Publication: 
CoNet Administrator
chiefofficersnet

The front page of the website of a solicitor's practice in Bolton in the north of England says "WARNING – SCAM ALERT – We have been advised that Allansons has been cited as the instructed solicitors by Agents purporting to be from ECM Asset Management Limited and in connection with investment equity release. No such company exists and we have been informed this is part of an ongoing investment scam. Allansons has not been instructed by any such company nor been involved in any such scheme." Sadly, the profession's regulator has found, there was malfeasance within the firm. And there is apparently unrelated skulduggery afoot.

Allansons Solicitors' website goes on "20 successful years of providing the best quality service in representing and advising its client in the areas of Crime, Conveyancing, Personal Injury, family and Taxi Law. Allansons was established in December 1993 by Roger Allanson. He began operating from an office at Boothstown which was originally a branch of Michael Seward & Co." Under the heading "partners" only Allanson is listed. Three other members of staff do not appear to be solicitors although one is said to be a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives. FILEx is regarded as a highly professional qualification. The firm traded under the names Allansons, Bouchers and Claims4All. It was structured as an LLP. Amongst its practice area, the firm lists delayed flight compensation, a form of claim that should require no professional intervention because there is a statutory scheme with on-line forms. It also lists the apparently random (in that it is unrelated to other business areas) "Islamic Mortgages."

There is also the following: "We recently began working in a new legal area, namely breach of mortgage contracts relating to mortgage payment miscalculations. Through our work we’ve discovered that significant numbers of people with mortgages may have claims against their lenders. These claims stem from a breach of contract by the lender and form the basis for a damages claim and we are working on behalf of borrowers to claim money back from their lenders. "

Not listed on the website is one Mohamed Patel. Patel was referred to the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal and, on 19th December 2018, he was fined GBP10,000 and conditions placed on his practising certificate. Before the hearing, he had moved from Allansons to a firm called Garratts in Oldham, about 20 minutes' drive away. He is listed, without a photograph, on the Garratts web site with the practice area of "crime." Unlike others in the firm who are marked as "solicitor" or "associate", his status is not disclosed. Patel had been a partner since 2006 in the original firm and then in its later version of LLP which was the regulated entity at the time under review.

Mr Patel's practising certificate for the practice year 2017/2018 is subject to the following conditions:

Mr Patel is not a manager or owner of any authorised body.
Mr Patel may not act as a compliance officer for legal practice (COLP) or compliance officer for finance and administration (COFA) for any authorised body.
Mr Patel does not hold, receive, or have access to client money, or act as a signatory to any client or office account, or have the power to authorise electronic transfers from any client or office account.

The definitions are in the SRA Handbook Glossary 2012.

Source: https://www.sra.org.uk/consume..."

It is not clear whether those conditions continue.

Decision - prosecution

Outcome: Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal order

Outcome date: 19 December 2018

Published date: 21 January 2019

This outcome was reached by SRA decision.
Reasons/basis

Outcome of SDT Hearing

This notification relates to a Decision to prosecute before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. This is an independent Tribunal which reaches its own decision after considering all the evidence, including any evidence put forward by the Respondent. The Tribunal had certified that there was a case to answer.

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