Conveyancing fee-earner and two trainee solicitors banned from profession

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29 January 2018

SRA: Section 43 orders imposed

An unqualified fee-earner who stole £569,000 from one of the country’s biggest conveyancing firms, and worked at other firms under different names before being sent to prison, has been banned from working in the profession.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published a regulatory settlement agreement making Caprice Lindo, a former employee of O’Neil Patient, subject to a so-called section 43 order.

It said that between October and December 2013, Ms Lindo was employed by O’Neil Patient. In late 2013, she arranged for up to £569,000 of client money to be sent from the firm’s accounts to fraudsters with whom she was associated.

When a client complained, O’Neill Patient investigated and dismissed Ms Lindo.

Over the next two years, she sought employment with other firms under the alias of ‘Chloe Wilson’, before being convicted of four counts of fraud by abuse of position in April 2017.

Ms Lindo was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the SRA has also issued a section 43 order to Wasim Iqbal, a trainee solicitor who was jailed for his role in the first insurance fraud convictions to involve solicitors. Two solicitors were also imprisoned, along with three other men.

Mr Iqbal was jailed for 15 months for conspiracy to defraud by fraudulent representation. At the time he worked at Eastways Solicitors.

A third section 43 order has been given to Matthew Francis, who was employed as a business development adviser and trainee solicitor at Stroud firm Winterbotham Smith & Penley from 1 March 2016 until 31 January 2017, when his contract was terminated.

He was found to have installed three personal cloud drives on to the firm’s network and stored precedents and templates onto the drives. On two occasions he denied storing any firm data on the drives. His conduct was found to be dishonest.

His current employment details are unknown.

Section 43 orders are the most that the SRA can do to stop non-solicitors operating in the profession. Under them, recipients can seek the SRA’s permission to work in the profession again.

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