Seven former members of a 200-year-old solicitor’s firm have been banned from acting as company directors for fraudulent trading for a collective total of 70 years.
Following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, three former directors of Wolstenholmes LLP were banned for the maximum period of 15 years in June, after four other members of the company had been banned as directors in 2012 and 2013.
Complaints into the company’s conveyancing practices prompted an investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which found “significant and serious accounting irregularities and that non-solicitor third parties had inappropriate control and influence over the activities of the company”, leading to the closure of the business.
Wolstenholmes LLP ceased trading on 24 December 2009 and was formally put into administration on 9 February 2010.
As a result of the shortfall on its clients’ account, the Solicitors Compensation Fund has paid out more than £13m relating to more than 2,500 former clients’ claims.
The company also filed false Stamp Duty Land Transfer returns with HM Land Registry.
Joanne Covell of the Insolvency Service’s investigations team said: “The actions of these individuals led to significant losses for clients as they misused money they had been entrusted with.
“These disqualifications show that we will not hesitate to investigate wrongdoing and sends a clear message that we will take appropriate enforcement action to maintain business confidence”.
The details of the disqualifications are:
- Nasir Ilyas – undertaking accepted for 15 years on 6 June 2014
- Waseem Saddique – disqualified by court order on 10 June 2014 for 15 years
- Mario Cardinali – disqualified by court order on 10 June 2014 for 15 years
- Imran Hussain – undertaking accepted for 9 years on 4 June 2013
- Bilal Khawaja – undertaking accepted for 6 years on 13 June 2013
- Helen Murgatroyd – undertaking accepted for 5 years on 24 February 2012
- Mr. Shabbir – undertaking accepted for 5 years on 24 January 2013