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Solicitor struck off for fleecing client in property sting

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  • 16/10/2019
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Solicitor struck off for fleecing client in property sting
A solicitor has been struck off for ‘dishonest’ behaviour after letting his client buy a property at an inflated price from a company owned by his business partner.

 

Milan Patel, sole director of ALD Legal Solicitors, carried out the complex fraud between April and September 2016.

Mr Patel received £500,000 from his client, a resident of Saudi Arabia, in May 2016 to buy a property in the UK.

Instead he used the money to buy the house for £438,000 on behalf of HB Consultants.

Once the transaction had completed he sold the property, on the same day, to his client for £460,000 and created two invoices for £40,000 to account for the difference, which were not shown to his client.

 

Deceptive and dishonest

The tribunal ruled that Patel had ‘deceived’ his client and that ‘ordinary, decent people would conclude that his conduct was dishonest’, according to the Law Society Gazette.

Patel did not keep his client up to date after the property had been bought. To explain the delay in registering the house in his client’s name he blamed Brexit and the privatisation of the Land Registry.

The invoices were for a £35,000 fee for HB Consultants for finding the property ‘off book’ for the Saudi resident, and a further £5,000 for chattels.

A purchase price of £500,000 was then recorded at the Land Registry.

Patel also failed to obtain any identification from his client before receiving £500,000 for the property purchase, or carry out any enhanced due diligence.

The solicitor was struck off and ordered by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal to pay £27,412.

 

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