Ex-Radclifffes consultant pleads guilty in fraud case

Former RadcliffesLe Brasseur property consultant Jeremy Franks has pleaded guilty in a Southern Ohio district court on one count of conspiracy to defraud, and is on bail awaiting sentencing

The consultancy contract that Franks held with the firm was terminated at the end of September, when he told Radcliffes’ management of his situation. However, he still has desk space there until Christmas, while he hands over his files to other lawyers at the firm.

Franks was struck off the Law Society’s solicitor’s roll soon after pleading guilty to the conspiracy charge.

His case relates to that of Richard Schultz, the former chief executive officer of Columbus-based collections agency National Revenue Corporation, who, in September 2001, pleaded guilty to hiding $7.5m (£4.7m) from the Inland Revenue Service in offshore accounts, and then repatriating the money back to the US.

According to Franks’ plea agreement, from October 1995 until the time of the indictment, Franks and others “orchestrated a series of false and fraudulent transactions, including the creation of false or backdated documents, to conceal the repatriation and return of funds to the US.”

So far in the case, Schultz, his brother Thomas, Columbus lawyer Larry Carnahan and Franks have all pleaded guilty. A further three lawyers from the US and Canada have also been indicted, and are now awaiting trial.

Franks had been a consultant at Radcliffes since 1998, following the disintegration of London firm Franks Charlesly, where Franks and his father Jack were two of the three equity partners.

Franks faces a maximum penalty of five year’s imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 (£158,300) and three year’s supervised release. As yet, no date has been set for sentencing. He is currently assisting the US Department of Justice with its ongoing investigation, as several other defendants are yet to come to trial.

Franks’ solicitor, Dechert litigation partner David Byrne, declined to comment.