The head of a bogus solicitors’ firm has received a 10-year director’s disqualification for running the business with a total lack of integrity.
French Fox Ltd was incorporated in 2016 and promoted itself as a solicitors’ firm operating a website named French Fox Law.
Despite advertising on its website that the firm had experience in a multitude of sectors and could provide a number of services, French Fox was not registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority and didn’t have permission to display the Legal 500 logo on its website.
Following complaints, French Fox was wound up in the High Court in February 2018 after a petition was submitted by the Insolvency Service following confidential investigations.
The Official Receiver was appointed as liquidator of the company and carried out further investigations, which included speaking to the registered director, Tashia Melissa Joseph, who had previously served a four-year directorship disqualification.
Describing herself as a ‘fiduciary nominee’, Ms Joseph, 39, from Forest Hill, London, said in her interview with the Official Receiver that she accepted her role with the company when she was asked by a third party.
However, she was unable to explain exactly what French Fox did, where it traded from, how many employees it had or why she was the sole shareholder.
Enquiries also established that Ms Joseph opened a bank account for the law firm, under the false pretence that she had 15 years’ legal experience, before handing over the account information to a third party, including online access codes and debit card.
She was unable to explain the monies coming in and out of French Fox’s bank account, including outgoing payments of more than £166,000.
Last month, the High Court disqualified her for 10 years after it was established that she had traded with a lack of commercial probity and failed to ensure that French Fox maintained and/or preserved adequate accounting records.
Joanna Caswell, Deputy Official Receiver, said: “Having just finished a four-year disqualification, it appears that Tashia Joseph had not learnt from her previous mistake and a mere five months later began to act in a manner which lacked any integrity.
“The court took a dim view of Tashia Joseph’s actions and this ban should serve as a warning to other directors who refer to themselves as a ‘nominee director’ with the misunderstanding that they have no responsibilities and duties as a formally appointed director.”