A WIRRAL solicitor made up invoices and took money from clients’ accounts without telling them as his firm faced financial trouble.
Alan Tickell, of Rex Taylor and Meadows in West Kirby, held on to money from a client’s estate in one case for 14 years.
Last month Tickell, 54, of Meols, was struck off and ordered to pay £20,000 costs after a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found he had been dishonest and not acted in his clients’ best interests.
Details of a report by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority has now also been revealed.
They include how Tickell produced invoices of £3,000 “without reason” as his firm was about to go over its overdraft limit.
When an investigator from the SRA asked Tickell if there were other cases where this had happened, he replied: “No it was a stupid thing and (I) wouldn’t do it again. No others.”
The SRA discovered there was another case where Tickell had invoiced an unknowing client, but he said he was “not proud about it”.
The SRA report said: “The First Respondent (Tickell) had embarked on a course of dishonest behaviour over a considerable period and in respect of several client matters.
“The Tribunal did not find there to be any exceptional circumstances and therefore determined that he should be struck off.”
In mitigation, Gareth Edwards of Crangle Edwards in Cheadle, said that Tickell admitted to all allegations at the outset and struggled against the background of the recession and the death of a partner in the firm.
In the case of Mrs B, who died in January 1993, £14,440.25 remained in a designated deposit account and was not distributed for 14 years. After gaining interest, £17,315.11 was then transferred to the firm’s general client bank account in April 2009.
An invoice of £3,000 plus VAT was then raised in January 2011 transferring money from this account to the firm’s office bank account, without telling Mrs B’s relatives.
In another case, the tribunal heard how Tickell acted both as the vendor and the purchaser and failed to transfer money properly in the case of the sale of a property described as 11 M Drive.
The judgement said Tickell told “no less than 12 lies in six separate communications.”
“The purpose was clear, to keep them at bay while he attempted to resolve the issue he should have picked up prior to completion.”
Wirral Coroner Christopher Johnson was also a partner in the firm but left in June 2011, and was not involved in the tribunal proceedings.