SRA investigates law firm's £400k loophole

SRA investigates law firm's £400k loophole


Two solicitors who handled the purchase of a family’s dream home have been released on police bail, whilst another individual has been jailed for two-and-a-half-years, in a scam which resulted in a family spending £400,000 on their dream home, only to have it repossessed six months later.

Gary and Samantha Humphris had their house repossessed six months after moving into their ideal four-bedroom family property in Sidcup, Kent. Despite believing they had paid £400,000 cash, they were informed that the property did not actually belong to them.

Mr Humphris told the Mail Online that the house was, “...everything we could have dreamed of” but because it was on the market for £500,000 and the couple only had £400,000 they thought they were unlikely to have an offer accepted.

He added, “But we had cash ready to buy it, and the estate agent came back and said: “As long as you can complete within ten days, it’s yours.” We transferred the £400,000 for the house into our solicitors’ account and on completion day they transferred the money into the account of the sellers’ solicitors.

“That was in August last year. Where our money went from there, nobody knows.”

The family’s solicitor first became concerned after having trouble registering the title deeds with the Land Registry. After investigation, the Mail reports, it became clear that the two partners of the solicitors’ firm had taken the money and fled. Furthermore, it was revealed that the previous owners of the house owed mortgage firms £542,000 and therefore the sale should not have been allowed to take place in the first place.

A clause in the solictors’ insurance has meant that the Humphris family have had their house repossessed, as the insurer does not have to return the family’s £400,000 if both of the firm’s partners were fraudulent.

Mr Humphris, who owns a property maintenance and commercial cleaning business, added: “Now our whole future is in the hands of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).”

The SRA is currently investigating the law firm, and has reportedly received ‘a number of claims relating to the solicitors’.

Mdmustazur Rahman was jailed for two-and-a-half years for his part in the scam, pleading guilty to two counts of fraud by misrepresentation and money laundering, after setting up a bank account in the name of the solicitors. Another man and a woman have been released on police bail in connection with the fraud.



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    This is bizarre that you can only have a cause of action if one of the firms partners are "fraudulent" but have no course of action if the whole firm is rotten to the core. What is the point of the insurance in the first place?

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    David Vieira

    Totally agree, we can't sneeze without filling out a reasons why letter.

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    Steve Brockman

    Why can't we know the name of the firm that was involved with this blatant con! I work in financial services and 1 error and I'm in trouble with everyone I can think of. If the S.R.A. has been in receipt of several other complaints involving these people why did'nt they suspend their licence to practice until they had carried out a full investigation?

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