In brief: Watch for fee fraudsters, solicitors told

Solicitors should take extra care to deflect approaches from advance fee fraudsters, Paul Pharoah, chair of the Law Society's compliance and supervision committee has warned. Pharoah told last week's council meeting too many solicitors were acting for advance fee fraudsters, and this was putting unnecessary pressure on the Solicitors' Compensation Fund. The fraud involves money lenders offering generous loans in return for a cash advance which is then pocketed. “It is a very worrying trend that the profession is sometimes victim and sometimes culprit in advance fee fraud,” said George Staple, head of the Serious Fraud Office. Pharoah also told the meeting that the amount of money paid out by the compensation fund had decreased from £18.1 million in 1995 to £8.6 million in the first seven months of 1996.