From a lawyer who commissioned a cocaine drop-off during a Law Society dinner to a solicitor jailed for bribing witnesses to the tune of $260,000, NZ Lawyer brings you a selection of the dodgiest solicitors from around the world.
- Lawyer’s special delivery during Law Society dinner
Publicly it appeared that Basharat Ditta, a lawyer at Forbes Solicitors in Blackburn, was simply acting for drug lord Neil Scarborough in a narcotics trial, however things got a little murky one night when the police decided to trail the defendant. To their surprise, he ended up outside his lawyer’s home, where he proceeded to pack three bags of cocaine in a golfing glove and hide it under Ditta’s bin. At the time, the lawyer was at a Law Society dinner.
Phone records revealed that Ditta had a made a total of nine calls to Scarborough that night, and although he denied using cocaine, the drug was found on his credit cards, wallet and in his hair. It was subsequently uncovered that Ditta had been attempting to illegally obtain information about the police investigation into the drug lord in order to feed it back into the criminal gang. He was jailed for three years.
- Lawyer bribes witnesses with hundreds of thousands of dollars
It was discovered that a Bradford solicitor Majed Iqba had been flying around the world on a bribing spree of witnesses to try and get them to withdraw their testimony against his client.
The lawyer’s client, Yasar Hussain, was facing jail for fraud after using 8,000 mocked-up cans to convince Middle Eastern businessmen that he owned the rights to market an energy drink. Although he didn’t own the rights to anything, it was enough to attract almost $600,000 in investments.
Police then caught his criminal solicitor Iqba at an airport in the UK with a memory stick that contained footage of him paying more than $260,000 in bribes to four of Hussain’s victims.
Iqbal was found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and jailed for five years. His client did a runner on the first day of the trial and is still missing.
- Lawyer steals $13 million to invest in strippers and chips
Probably one of the most prolific solicitors-cum-major crim is former US lawyer Douglas Arntsen who pled guilty to stealing almost $13 million from clients in just a two year period.
The lawyer was an associate at major US firm Crowell & Morning from 2007-2011, and during that time he was also illegally squirrelling away significant coin from two of the firm’s biggest clients.
He clearly saw the benefit in having a diverse investment portfolio, and the money was put to work in a range of projects including investments in chip manufacturers and dry cleaners, and eating five-star quality meals and seeing strippers.
He faced up to 12 years in prison.
- “Clueless” lawyer jailed for mortgage fraud
Just before a move into the legal profession, former real estate agent and solicitor Elena Quinlivan ruined it all and was jailed for two years for using dodgy payslips, fake ID and forged bank statements to falsely inflate her salary from $31,500 to $114,000.
She then used this information to get a whole raft of fraudulent mortgages spanning six elite properties in Stratford. All up, she managed to make about $2.5 million.
Her own brief labelled Quinlivan as “clueless” before her sentencing. “Not all lawyers are intelligent. This is not some scheme hatched by a master criminal, but one person, rather clueless,” he said.
The full-length versions of these stories in appear on legal website Roll on Friday