SCAMMER SOLICITORS: British legal eagle fined after defrauding ‘vulnerable’ cancer sufferer

Croydon – VIJAY SHAH via NEIL ROSE and Legal Futures

A ‘dodgy’ solicitor who defrauded one of their clients for the sum of £175,000 (USD $222,775) to plug a hole in his firm’s accounts has been fined a total of £63,000 ($80,199) after being brought to book, according to legal website Legal Futures.

In October last year, the lawyer, Neil Adrian Aiston, was hauled in front of the regulatory agency the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) after he persuaded one of his clients to give the £175,000 as an unsecured loan to another of the solicitor’s clients. The loaner was a longstanding user of Aiston’s services, having worked with the legal professional for thirty-five years, but was described as ‘vulnerable’, meaning they were at risk of being exploited due to their mental health issues. The client was also experiencing cancer, the Tribunal accepted.

Image: Hloom via Flickr / CC BY-SA, 401(K) 2013 hloom.com

 

Aiston, whose solicitors’ firm was facing troubles, alongside an unspecified outside ‘intervention’ into his business, took the money and instead used it to fill a hole in his office accounts instead. The hole came about after the lawyer took money from other clients for another loan he gave to another customer of his practice. Aiston failed to repay the loan and the client subsequently reported him to authorities.

Aiston was based in Croydon, just south of London, and had been a qualified practitioner since 1979. The client who lost their money told the Tribunal he felt ‘threatened, manipulated and groomed’ after Aiston pressured him into signing documents establishing the loan which he was unable to fully read. Aiston also told the client that he would not pay up the proceeds of a property transaction undertaken by the fraud victim unless he signed over the loan money, the Tribunal also heard. Aiston had explicit knowledge of the client’s health problems, yet continued with the deception.

A statement from the Tribunal said “[Mr Aiston] knew that he was in urgent need of funds as he was facing the prospect of an intervention. [He] has clearly considered that one way of achieving this was to ensure that Client 1 repay the monies that he owed…’

‘[His] conduct was about as dishonest as it could get. [He] had engineered this loan directly for his own benefit in an attempt to rectify the firm’s finances.”

Aiston was described as behaving with conduct that was “was about as dishonest as it could get”, and his failure to return the loan meant the client would now be seeking the money from the Solicitors Compensation Fund, according to Legal Futures.

In his witness statement, Aiston wrote: “I deeply regret the action I took and struggle to understand why I agreed to help a desperate client on that occasion when nearly 40 years’ practice told me not to do so.

‘All I can say is that I had known the client concerned for over 10 years, trusted his statements as to repayment, when I should not even have entertained his request, and as a result I will rightly be struck from the roll.

‘I did not benefit financially or in any other way, personal or through my firm.”

The Tribunal ruled that Aiston had acted when there was a conflict of interest and had been dishonest. He had ‘manipulated’ the client and had brought his profession into disrepute with his fraudulent actions.

In addition to the huge fine, the SDT ordered that Neil Adrian Aiston be struck off from the solicitors’ register and the fraudster was also found guilty of breaching accounting regulations and failing in his professional duties as a certified legal practitioner.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Eli Pressman, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/BarnetWills

“Solicitor “about as dishonest as it could get”” – Neil Rose, Legal Futures/Legal Futures Publishing Limited (3 October 2018) https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/solicitor-about-as-dishonest-as-it-could-get

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Paying with $100 Bills – Businessman Transaction” – Hloom Templates, Flickr (15 July 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/95051110@N07/28394541020

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ILFORD MARKET: It will be a big one

Ilford – VIJAY SHAH via ELLENA CRUSE and Ilford Recorder

A new covered market is planned for Ilford in the next few years at the site of the car park near the High Road and the Kenneth More Theatre in the town’s centre. Now, the official planning application for the market suggests that it will be a large one, with an expected 800-person capacity, according to material seen by local paper, the Ilford Recorder.

The 800-person capacity refers not to the amount of traders that will be operating in the market, but the maximum number of shoppers the market will be able to contain. The figure was released by Mercato Metropolitano (MM), the firm behind the market’s potential development. MM is a London-based company specialising in the operation of community-oriented marketplaces infused with an Italian soul, and have already set up a similar market in the Elephant & Castle area of central London.

 

MM plan to build a temporary ‘L-shaped structure’ which will last for five years at the Redbridge Car Park, off Ilford’s Chadwick Road and close to the shopping centre. That land is currently owned by the local government body for the area, Redbridge Council.

The project will include thirty food stalls, plus an on-site craft brewery and a hydroponic farm for growing local fruits and vegetables. There are also plans for the market to have its own cookery school to train locals in food culture. The market will operate all day and offer a wide variety of cuisines and food and drink types to cater to the surrounding area’s diverse population.

A spokesperson for MM explained to the Recorder: “The retail offer will always include a cold cuts and cheese counter, a range of selected groceries, wines and liqueurs, chocolate, patisserie, bakery/boulangerie, cooking tools, flowers, fruit and vegetables,’

‘The restaurant concessions will always offer a wide variety of foods from across the world, including Neapolitan pizza, Middle Eastern concessions, Japanese, fresh pasta, Argentinean/South American grills and specialities, pan‐Asian cuisine, Italian gelato and a world‐class bar.’

‘Whilst some of the concessions may open at different times of the day, the whole operation will offer breakfast, lunch, supper and drinks together with an all‐day retail offer.”

The planning proposals submitted to the council state that the market will likely be open from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm on Sundays to Thursdays, and from 8:00 am to 12:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays only. Visitors will be expected to leave the market quietly as not to disturb the peace of residents in the area, home to many residential houses and blocks of flats.

Redbridge councillors will meet up to discuss the MM covered market proposal some time in the New Year (2019), the Ilford Recorder stated.

Ilford previously had a traditional market, Pioneer Market, which was demolished several years ago to make way for the twin towers known as Pioneer Point, which dominates the Ilford skyline.

SOURCES:

Ilford Recorder, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IlfordRecorder/

“Ilford covered market: Planning application proposes 800 person capacity” – Ellena Cruse, Ilford Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (28 December 2018) https://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/politics/sneak-peek-at-new-ilford-market-plans-1-5833238?fbclid=IwAR3MJiSJ-g9tgsN2lS3ByeLhElncBnijdF02rQEFgfH6j70hj6VO2FNeWG0

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Crowds shopping at Borough market, south London – geograph.org.uk – 1522109.jpg” – Andy F, geograph.org.uk via Wikipedia (2 October 2009) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Crowds_shopping_at_Borough_market,_south_London_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1522109.jpg

GUNS IN DAGENHAM: Four crooks jailed for weapons offences

Dagenham – VIJAY SHAH via MIKE BROOKE and Barking and Dagenham Post

Four people have been sent to prison in the United Kingdom for weapon possession offences after guns were discovered at a house in the town of Dagenham, Greater London, local newspaper the Barking and Dagenham Post reported on its website this past Friday.

More weapons were discovered secreted away in the boot of a car, the newspaper stated. The four individuals, three men and a woman, were put behind bars for a total of 29 years six months for possessing the firearms, which also came with an unspecified amount of ammunition.

 

The criminals, named by the Post as Spencer Tapper, Sandy Hunter, Mahesh Chaitoo and Aymon Popo, were sent down by Maidstone Crown Court in the county of Kent after pleading guilty to the firearms charges on January 29, 2018, according to the newspaper.

Police officers allied with the Trident and Area Crime Command, a branch of the Metropolitan force that covers the Greater London area, raided a house in Dagenham’s Goresbrook Road where they uncovered a handgun with fifteen live rounds of ammunition, and then another twenty rounds in a holdall hidden in a bedroom of the house. Another stash of illegal weaponry was found when a car was pulled over on the M2 motorway, a major road running through Kent from the London region.

Sandy Hunter, 33, of Goresbrook Road in Dagenham, was handed by Maidstone court a two-and-a-half years sentence for assisting an offender. Spencer Tapper, 27, of School Road, also in Dagenham, was sentenced to fifteen years on two charges of possessing a firearm and two charges of possessing ammunition. Aymon Popo, 33, from Romford, was given six-and-a-half years for conspiracy to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life. Mahesh Chaitoo, 28, from Southend-on-Sea, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years for possessing a firearm.

“These defendants were carrying and exchanging firearms across London and Kent,” Det Insp Tim Grinsted said.

‘Firearms pose a significant danger to the public and we are delighted that we’ve been able to take them off the streets.

‘Gun crime of any kind will not be tolerated and we are committed to removing firearms from criminal circulation.”

A gun pickup was arranged where Tapper and Chaitoo were to visit the Kentish town of Ramsgate, but their vehicle was stopped on the M2 motorway where a gun and forty-two rounds of bullets were discovered concealed in the boot of Chaitoo’s car. Police later linked Popo to the investigation in Dagenham. He was charged with “being the conduit who arranged to transport the firearm” and for conspiracy to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

SOURCES:

Sherrie Bachell.

“Four are jailed after guns and ammunition found at Dagenham address and in car boot” – Mike Brooke, Barking and Dagenham Post/Archant Community Media Ltd (9 February 2018) http://www.barkinganddagenhampost.co.uk/news/crime-court/four-are-jailed-after-guns-and-ammunition-found-at-dagenham-address-and-in-car-boot-1-5388322

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free photo Ammo Firearms Bullets Weapon Pistol Handgun Gun – Max Pixel” – Max Pixel http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Ammo-Firearms-Bullets-Weapon-Pistol-Handgun-Gun-231696

LONDON CABS: The MiniCabster Infographic

The Half-Eaten Mind has been based in London all its life. The author too has been based in the Greater London area all his life. He was born in Barking, which was once part of the nearby county of Essex until the Local Government Act of 1965 changed the face of the city’s political landscape and heralded the creation of the new county of Greater London (The Royal Mail still includes my hometown in its Essex postal district). He is both a Londoner and an ‘Essexman’, having spent his formative years in east London, where he still lives and is currently working in the city centre.

London
London (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

As a proud Londoner, I always take an interest in the going-ons of my city, especially given that I am trained as a journalist, the newsy aspect of London life. London is home to around 8 million people and is the financial and cultural powerhouse of the United Kingdom, as well as the centre of the country’s media industry. It is fun, exciting and exhilarating. It can also be tough, hectic, and depressing. But I do love my London.

In honour of this metropolis of magnificence and madness, the Half-Eaten Mind brings you this special ‘infographic’ courtesy of The Minicabster Blog, a website bringing news on the industry behind one of London’s most memorable tourist icons, the humble taxi cab. There are estimated to be around 23,000 ‘black cabs’ (taxis) plying their trade on London’s roads, according to local paper The Evening Standard. Add to that figure the thousands of private hire vehicles that are the travelling module of choice in the suburbs and outer areas of the city. They are usually known locally as ‘minicabs’.

The interactive infographic offers a short trip through the history & developments of the London cab and aims to answer all the questions you might have ever asked about taxis, such as when the first public carriages appeared and where the industry is heading now.

(c) Minicabster Ltd.

You can view the infographic by clicking the image above. The graphic works best with Google Chrome, but will also work well with Mozilla Firefox. Mobile users and people viewing it with Safari browsers may experience issues using this current version (Feb. 2014)

It is incredibly easy to use. You only need to push down the right arrow key on your keyboard to move the car and begin your historical journey. With fun graphics and accessible language, it is ideal for all age groups.

To find out more about Minicabster, the company behind the London taxi infographic, please visit https://www.minicabster.co.uk

SOURCES:
Taxi history – an interactive infographic from Minicabster!” – Chris Linn, Minicabster/Minicabster Ltd. (31 January 2014) LINK
“London’s black cabs have many miles in them yet, says China’s Henry Ford” – Toby Green, London Evening Standard (26 February 2013) LINK
IMAGE CREDITS:
“London” – Doug Wheller, Flickr (4 December 2011) LINK
“Taxi history – an interactive infographic from Minicabster!” – Chris Linn, Minicabster/Minicabster Ltd. (31 January 2014) LINK 
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