Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 2/9/97

James Alexander Gregg, solicitor's clerk of Bedfordshire, banned from working for any further solicitors without written consent from Law Society and ordered to pay £1,407 costs. Allegations substantiated that he had been involved in an international financial transaction involving a proposed loan of US$25m and a proposed advance fee of US$250,000. Gregg said to have written series of letters to a Canadian lawyer and London solicitors referring to the proposed transaction. Tribunal told he had become involved in "an advanced fee scam" and also in "prime bank instrument fraud". Tribunal said it was aware of the prevalence of international fraud into which members of the legal profession were drawn by fraudsters in order that their involvement might lend credibility to fraudulent schemes. Solicitors and clerks should ensure they were not duped into giving credibility to such schemes.

Christofer Desmond Rexworthy, 52, admitted 1968, practising at material times on own account in St Albans, fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £763 costs. Allegations substantiated he failed to reply to correspondence from the Solicitors Complaints Bureau and failed when requested to do so to apply for a remuneration certificate. Rexworthy previously before the tribunal in 1991 when he was fined £500 for practising without a current practising certificate and failing to comply with direction from the Solicitors Complaints Bureau. The tribunal was dismayed to find Rexworthy back before it on similar allegations to those in 1991. While it accepted he was a competent and honest solicitor, it took a serious view of solicitors who ignored correspondence, especially that addressed to them by their own professional body.

Tracey Starenczak, cashier/bookkeeper at material time with Smallpiece & Merriman, Guildford, banned from working for any further solicitors without written consent from Law Society and ordered to pay £815 costs. Allegations substantiated that Starenczak, who had worked for the firm since 1980, was jailed for 30 months after pleading guilty at Guildford Crown Court in April 1996 to theft, procuring execution of a valuable security by deception, false accounting and making a false instrument. Tribunal told that when Law Society Investigation Accountant inspected firm's books in 1996 misuse of client funds totalling £177,231 was revealed, all attributable to Starenczak.