Solicitor jailed for mortgage fraud
28 September 2012
There are three more classic entries to the RollOnFriday hall of shame
this week, including top-notch mortgage fraud, some classic tax swindling and an exciting new set of charges for the profession: facilitating sham marriages.
First up, a former estate agent and solicitor Elena Quinlivan. Between 2003 and 2005, before her legal career had even begun, Quinlivan used dodgy payslips, fake ID and forged bank statements to falsely inflate her salary from £16,000 to £58,000. Which allowed her to get a series of fradulent mortgages over six properties in London's Olympic quarter, Stratford. All in, she got her hands on £1.3 million. Or as it's called at RollOnFriday, The Full Grierson
Before sentencing Quinlivan to two years in prison, Judge Nicholas Lorraine-Smith told her that she was "an intelligent solicitor
". Her own brief disagreed, explaining that "Not all lawyers are intelligent. This is not some scheme hatched by a master criminal, but one person, rather clueless.
" He added that "She came from a society, the Soviet Union, in which things were done very differently...[and]...dealt with regularly without recourse to criminal law
". As well as the time sewing mail bags, Quinlivan will also have to pay back all the cash, or face another two years inside.
Following last week's news of HMRC's plans to crack down on tax
evasion within the profession, the potential for scamming the tax man
was shown by the jailing of Southport barrister Robert Osman. Osman has
been sent down after being found guilty of a £196,000 tax fraud in which he charged VAT to his clients, but failed to pay it on to the Revenue. Simples!
It got him 12 months in prison. He started the offences in 2003 (again, witness the mighty speed of justice).
The most exotic allegations of the week come from Belfast, where trainee solicitor Michelle Lyons is facing charges relating to a sham marriage at Belfast City Hall. Lyons is charged with completing a business transfer (is that a crime?), and making fradulent driving licence applications for personal gain. She appeared in court alongside solicitor John Irwin and five others.
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