The Solicitors Regulation Authority has warned professionals not to get tied up in dubious investment schemes that could be linked to fraudulent activity – as they risk being shut down.
According to a notice published on its website, several law firms are ‘continuing to facilitate’ dubious schemes including banking services through client accounts.
The SRA said it was aware of ‘clear consumer losses’ arising from the schemes, some amounting to ‘many millions of pounds’.
Some law firms and other promoters of the schemes pay attention to red flags that the SRA and other regulators warn about and then deliberately create a scheme that avoids raising those flags, the SRA said.
Paul Philip, chief executive of the SRA, said the involvement of law firms is not new, that many solicitors had been disciplined and some had been prosecuted and imprisoned.
‘We will continue to deal quickly and decisively with any solicitor who becomes involved in them,’ he said.
The schemes are so well known that any solicitor who becomes involved in them may face being closed down, the SRA warns.
Philip added that the scheme’s operators seek the involvement of solicitors to give their scams an ‘impression of credibility or security’.
The SRA said it will be carrying out further analysis of cases.