A solicitor has been struck off the roll for breaching investment regulations after hundreds of investors placed up to £250,000 each in a property investment scheme he set up
Three other members of his firm are being investigated by the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS). Allen Elliott, who was struck off the roll last month, ran a firm called Elliotts Solicitors and was a director of related organisation Elliotts Solicitors plc, based in Chiswick, West London. One OSS spokesperson said that through Elliotts Solicitors plc, 400 investors put money into his property scheme, with the promise of an extremely high return. However, there was also a strong possibility the members would not see any return on their investments. In March 2000 the Law Society seized the property portfolio from Elliotts and shut down his firm and his company. The week before the asset seizure the scheme had grossed £600,000 and the money going into it far exceeded the potential value of the properties in the portfolio. A Torquay hotel, which was security for £600,000 of investment was independently valued at £288,000, while £250,000 was advanced against a derelict shed in Wellington, Somerset. The OSS spokesperson said that Elliott is an Australian national who was declared bankrupt in Australia after being involved in a similar investment scheme. The Serious Fraud Office, which deals with all frauds above £1m, could not confirm or deny whether it was investigating Elliott. The Law Society is now managing the scheme in order to compensate investors. But it may have to compensate members itself. An OSS spokesperson said: "We're seeking consultation on the distribution of finances to various parties as compensation and the Law Society may have to compensate the members."