Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Llangwm: Bankrupt ex-solicitor must repay nearly £200k or spend more time in jail

Published

on

A CROWN COURT judge has decided that a bankrupt former solicitor who was jailed for massively over-billing clients must pay back almost £200,000 or spend extra time in jail.

Edgar Stephen Thomas was jailed in January. He received a six-year sentence for over charging clients nearly £1m. He is appearing at Swansea Crown Court today for his proceeds of crime hearing.

Has been ordered to repay victims £196,000 or spend an extra two years inside.

He abused his position to grossly exaggerate the costs of handling money and property belonging to bereaved families. He charged one client at the rate of £20,000 a week without doing any work at all.

Another was charged at £12,000 a week and went on to lose a total of £100,000.

At an earlier hearing, Thomas’ barrister, Ian Ibrahim, said his client was now broke and all the money had gone on keeping his business afloat.

He said his client had been “overwhelmed” by work after starting his law practice in 2005 and had used his “vulnerable” clients’ money to keep the business running.

“His fall from a high place has been dramatic. His remorse is complete and utterly without qualification.

“He has lost everything and knows that he will go to jail today.”

Mr Ibrahim added: “Because of his very, very poor book keeping he encountered cash flow problems. His overheads were £60,000 a year.

“He knows he should have done far, far better than this.”

“He wishes to apologise to all affected by his actions as well as the pain and suffering because of it.”

Mr Ibrahim said Thomas’ wife of 35 years and their 23-year-old daughter were standing by him.

Judge Keith Thomas told Thomas his behaviour was “disgusting”, saying “people put faith in you at the most stressful time in their lives.”

Thomas, of Stephen’s Green, Deerland Road, Llangwm, admitted 23 offences of fraud and theft earlier this year, which stopped only when his firm of Steve Thomas and Co was closed down by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.

Swansea Crown Court was told Thomas defrauded 16 “vulnerable” families while he operated Steve Thomas and Co. solicitors as a sole practitioner in Haverfordwest, in west Wales.

After being asked to administrate the money, property and shares declared in the wills of the deceased he grossly inflated his charges, defrauding some families out of up to £100,000.

Prosecutor Jim Davies said: “Whilst acting as a sole practitioner solicitor he defrauded beneficiaries’ estates with charges that were grossly inflated and unjustified.
“He grossly overcharged and then deducted the payments directly from the estates of deceased people,” he said.
“He helped himself to his clients’ money without telling them what he was doing.”

Mr Davies said Thomas defrauded the families of 16 people by a total of £938,315 between 2007 and 2014.
The amounts varied from £9,000 belonging to the family of Winona Phillips, to much larger sums including £95,000 belonging to the family of Pamela Price and £100,000 belonging to the family of Audrey Phillips.
That brought the total amount from Thomas’ crimes to £988,315.

Mr Davies said “most though not all” of the defrauded families had been given compensation by the SRA, but other claims for legal expenses could still be outstanding.

The overcharging began in 2005 when he was asked to handle the estate of Richard James Rogers. He charged the estate £41,800 plus VAT but internal documents showed that as the work decreased his bills increased.

Thomas agreed overcharging that estate by £12,000.

The court heard that Thomas then went on to plunder many more accounts. The most outrageous example, said Mr Davies, related to the estate of Audrey Williams, who died in 2013.

Thomas charged £127,250 plus VAT, sometimes raising–but not posting–two invoices a day. He agreed he had overcharged his client by £100,000.

Mr Davis said Thomas’ offending did not stop there. His firm was hired by Vaughan’s Radio, an electrical store in Haverfordwest, to handle the purchase of a business in Aberystwyth.

Thomas simply kept for himself £50,000 of the purchase price.

Mr Davis said Thomas had worked for Eaton Evans in Haverfordwest, rising to becoming a partner, before leaving to form his own firm in 2005.

His accounts had to be audited and as a result the SRA were alerted to fears that he was overcharging.

A detailed forensic examination of his accounts was carried out and the fears were confirmed, along with the discovery of a shortfall in his client’s accounts of £144,326.

There was then an administrative error at the SRA and the initial report was not acted upon until June 2014, when a second financial investigation revealed more fraud and he was later struck off.

In February 2015 Thomas was declared bankrupt.

Mr Davis said the SRA had reimbursed those who had lost because of Thomas’ fraudulent behaviour, but there remained the question of costs and whether he could be made to repay any of the money. An investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act is underway.

News

Monkton man with ‘no regard for the law’ jailed for two attempted robberies

Published

on

A MAN who threatened to stab a vulnerable victim just a day after trying to commit a robbery against a stranger has been jailed.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers arrested 29-year-old Jamie Rawlinson 20 minutes after receiving a report that he’d threatened to stab a stranger on June 26.

The victim reported that Rawlinson, of Colley Court, in Monkton, had approached him outside his home and held a sharp object to his chest.

The victim managed to get inside his house safely, and called the police.

Rawlinson was arrested 20 minutes later and taken to police custody, where he was interviewed the following day, and released on bail with conditions while officers carried out enquiries.

But just hours later, he was under arrest for a second time.

Detective Sergeant Tanya Rendell said: “The suspect was released on bail with stringent conditions to comply to while we carried out an investigation into the offence. There were a number of enquiries we needed to progress, which would take longer than we would have been able to keep him in custody. Despite the conditions imposed the suspect clearly had no regard for the law or the conditions imposed, and with less than three hours after being released, went on to commit another attempted robbery, this time against a vulnerable man who was known to him.

“The pair had met at a friend’s house and had gone for a walk, when they ended up in an alleyway.

“The victim was physically assaulted – punched and kicked – and was threatened that he would be stabbed if he didn’t give Rawlinson £40 and tobacco.”

PCSOs on patrol saw the victim and took him to a place of safety. Rawlinson, who was still in the area was arrested following this.

He was charged with two counts of attempt robbery and appeared at Swansea Crown Court, where he was sentenced to six years in prison.

DS Rendell said: “This was a swift an comprehensive investigation, involving officers from a number of teams. Evidence was captured by Neighbourhood Policing Teams at the scene, which was followed up with house-to-house and CCTV enquiries, as well as work from the dog unit, CID and firearms officers.

“This excellent teamwork secured the evidence needed to get a charge, conviction and a prison sentence for a man who is clearly a danger to the community.”

Continue Reading

News

Surge in reports of personal watercraft incidents on the South Pembrokeshire Coast

Published

on

THE NATIONAL PARK is appealing for riders of personal watercraft to consider the impact of their activities on other visitors and wildlife following a recent rise in reported incidents.

Launching the small jet-powered boats has already been banned in a number of locations around the Pembrokeshire Coast due to the actions of irresponsible riders and the noise nuisance generated by the crafts.

Recent reports include a personal watercraft weaving at high speed through the moorings close to the shore in Dale and a near miss with a kayaker in Freshwater East.

Park Authority Chief Executive, Tegryn Jones said: “Noisy, intrusive activities such as personal watercraft riding are not generally welcome on the Pembrokeshire Coast due to their impact on the special qualities of the National Park.

“Peace and tranquillity are some of key things that our residents and visitors value and perhaps more importantly our rare and protected wildlife depends on it. One inconsiderate jet-powered craft user has the potential to ruin the day of hundreds of other people.

“High visitor numbers mean many people are taking to the water in various vessels and kayaks and stand up paddleboards are particularly vulnerable to being overturned by the heavy wakes generated by personal watercraft.

“We are urging people to stick to the dedicated aquabatics zones on the Milford Haven Waterway and follow the ‘dead slow’ and minimum wake guidelines that are in place around beaches, harbours and other people.”

Anyone heading out into the water around the Pembrokeshire Coast is reminded to read and follow the Pembrokeshire Marine Code to minimise any disturbance to wildlife and to enable you to have the best experience possible.

Further information and maps highlighting the dedicated personal watercraft and aquabatics zones on the Milford Haven Waterway is available from the Port of Milford Haven website: https://www.mhpa.co.uk/powered-craft/.

To find out how you can minimise disturbance to wildlife while enjoying the waters around the Pembrokeshire Coast visit the Pembrokeshire Marine Code website: https://www.pembrokeshiremarinecode.org.uk/.

Continue Reading

News

Johnston: Police appeal after boy on scooter injured in collision

Published

on

POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a collision in Johnston, near Haverfordwest, on Wednesday (Aug 5).

A boy on a scooter sustained minor injuries during the collision, which took place at around 4.20pm.

A red 4×4 is also believed to have been involved.

Anyone who was in the area of the St Peters Road pelican crossing, or nearby Langford road, and either witnessed the collision or who has CCTV that covers this area is asked to get in touch with Dyfed-Powys Police

As spokesman said: “You can telephone 101 or email contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired you can text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Please quote Dyfed-Powys Police Ref DP-20200805-249.”

Continue Reading
News8 hours ago

Monkton man with ‘no regard for the law’ jailed for two attempted robberies

A MAN who threatened to stab a vulnerable victim just a day after trying to commit a robbery against a...

News9 hours ago

Surge in reports of personal watercraft incidents on the South Pembrokeshire Coast

THE NATIONAL PARK is appealing for riders of personal watercraft to consider the impact of their activities on other visitors...

News1 day ago

Police ask communities to stay alert to prevent raves this weekend

Police are asking communities to stay alert to prevent raves this weekend. As we head into the weekend, police are...

News1 day ago

Haverfordwest: Appeal for information following incident at Morrisons

POLICE are investigating a shoplifting and assault allegation which occurred at approximately 3.20pm on Saturday (Aug 1) at Morrisons, Haverfordwest....

News2 days ago

Dowson hits out as complaints dismissed

CONTROVERSIAL Pembroke Dock County Councillor Paul Dowson has hit out at his critics after Wales’ Public Services Ombudsman rejected complaints...

News2 days ago

Haverfordwest: Tributes from family for Lola James, 2

DAN THOMAS, the father of two-year-old Lola James from Haverfordwest, who sadly died in hospital on July 21, has paid...

News3 days ago

Milford Haven coastguards launch six lifeboats and task helicopter to hoax call

MILFORD HAVEN Coastguard Operations Centre swung into action last night following an emergency call, tasking SIX lifeboats and a rescue...

News4 days ago

Eat Out to Help Out Launches today – with Government paying half on restaurant bills

FROM today, Monday, August 3, customers will get up to 50% off on bills when visiting participating restaurants, pubs and...

News4 days ago

Specialist officers undertaking detailed examination at tragic Lola’s home

SPECIALIST police officers at are Princess Royal Way in Haverfordwest today (Aug 3) as part of the investigation into the...

News5 days ago

First Minister eases COVID restrictions

NEW rules have come into force today (Monday Aug 3) to make it easier for family and friends to meet...

Popular This Week