Solicitor struck off after £230k goes missing from client account
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A dishonest solicitor from North Somerset has been struck off after it was discovered more than £230,000 of clients’ money was missing from his firm’s bank account.
Alexander Henry Bevan, of Walton-in-Gordano, has also been ordered to pay £82,500 in costs after a hearing of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) found numerous allegations proven against him.
Mr Bevan appeared at the hearing along with Guy Robin Hollebon, aged 38 from Bristol, in relation to their activities as directors of Bristol law firm Bevans Bray Walker.
One of their clients, who did not wished to be named, told the Times he had lost most of his life savings as a result of their actions.
The allegations were brought against them by the Solicitor Regulation Authority (SRA), after the firm went into administration in 2012. The SRA subsequently shut the firm down to protect its clients’ interests, removing all documents and files as well as all of the money held by the firm.
The SDT hearing was held from May 18-21 when both were found to have breached numerous SRA accounting rules and principles including those that state solicitors should act in the best interests of their client, behave in a way that maintains trust in the legal profession and protect client money and assets.
The SRA found that a minimum of £232,746 was missing from an account dedicated to client money, with amounts moved in improper transfers in December 2010, May 2011 and February 2012.
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It was also found they had not kept accounting records properly, had not paid for things they should have done with client money and, even if those allegations against them were not their fault, also failed to take action when the problems were realised. The SRA also found the pair had failed to make arrangements for the effective management of the firm.
Mr Bevan, aged 65, was also found to have personally requested the transfer of £75,000 from a trust account into the firm’s general client bank account and as a result failed in his duty as a trustee and acted dishonestly.
The SDT, which found all of the allegations brought by the SRA proven, will release its full findings in a report later this summer.
Mr Bevan and Mr Hollebon – who was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £27,500 – represented themselves at the hearing and have 21 days to appeal.