“Dishonest” ABS owner banned for multiple breaches


SRA: Rarely used power

A non-lawyer owner of an alternative business structure (ABS) responsible for multiple rule breaches – including a £3.6m shortfall on his firm’s client account – has been banned from working in another one.

A finding of dishonesty was made against Mohammed Yasin and he was made subject to a disqualification order under the Legal Services Act 2007 that prevents him from owning or working for another ABS.

As Ipswich firm Mayland Porter is an ABS, a different and to date rarely used statutory regime applies to that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) uses for traditional firms.

According to a decision published yesterday by the SRA, Mr Yasin made improper payments from the firm’s client account which led to a minimum identified cash shortage of £3.6m as at 31 August 2017, money that was not replaced “promptly or at all”.

He also allowed Mayland Porter – which according to the SRA is in the process of closing down – to become involved in conveyancing transactions “which bore the hallmarks of fraud”.

Other breaches were that Mr Yasin:

  • Allowed false and misleading documentation, including correspondence and undertakings, to be provided to solicitors for other parties in conveyancing matters;
  • Transferred client money to third parties without authority or instructions from the relevant clients. On one matter, he transferred client money to a bank account in his personal name, without the client’s authority or instructions;
  • Failed to carry out adequate enquiry in relation to the identity, employment history and practising status of an employee.
  • Failed to exercise appropriate supervision over the firm’s London office and the staff who were working there;
  • Failed to notify serious misconduct at the firm to the SRA and to co-operate with the SRA in its inspection of the firm.
  • Failed to manage an orderly closure of the firm and to engage with the firm’s professional indemnity insurer.

This breached no fewer than five of the SRA principles.




Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog


The hot graphic design trends in the legal sector

As we recover from an unprecedented 19 months within our sector, marketing teams and clerks’ rooms are keener than ever to try out something new in the promotion of their businesses.


What challenges will the Bar face in the next five years?

As we look towards the end of 2021 and at how the Bar has adapted to the harsh realities of the pandemic, the question beckons as to what the future holds.


The rise of cyber-criminal threat for law firms since Covid-19

The global coronavirus pandemic, and the rise in people working from home, has unfortunately provoked a growth in cyber-crime. The UK government estimates that the cost of cyber-crime is £27bn per annum.


Loading animation