A former managing partner at a Bradford solicitors’ firm who was sent to prison for creating a fictitious business to claim thousands of pounds from the Legal Aid Agency has been referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal to face separate allegations.
In a notice published today the SRA said the tribunal had certified there was a case to answer in respect of allegations against Mohammed Ayub. These include a failure to ensure adequate supervision of staff leading to clients being provided with forged decree absolutes and a failure to deal with complaints from clients.
The allegations are subject to a hearing and are as yet unproven, the SRA outlined.
Ayub, who worked at Bradford-based Chambers Solicitors, was jailed for three and a half years last month for his part in a scheme to defraud the LAA.
His brother Mohammed Riaz received a two years and nine month sentence for his part in the scheme while a third man, Neil Frew, was given a two-year suspended sentence. All three were found guilty following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court in November last year.
Between September 2010 and October 2014, the trio conspired to create a sham company – known as Legal Support Services (LSS) – to claim expenses from the LAA for providing interpreters for immigration and asylum contract work.
During the trial, the jury heard that money had been paid into LSS accounts over four years, but the company had no records of ever paying any corporation tax, VAT, or utility bills.
During a sentencing hearing at Newcastle Crown Court last month, prosecutor Simon Kealey QC said there was ‘no definitive figure’ for the loss to the LAA but said in ‘broad terms’ it was between £194,000 and £234,000.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority intervened in Chambers Solicitors late last year. The Bradford firm has no connection with Chambers Solicitors of Slough, Berkshire.