Monday, August 23, 2010

Attorney turned to fraud to save firm

23 August 2010, 18:08
An attorney convicted of fraud and theft on Monday told Cape Town's Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court he had committed the crimes to save his legal practice.

Charles Ivan Miskey, 38, told the court his Durbanville legal practice, Miskey Incorporated, started small but grew rapidly with civil litigation and commercial work, which then expanded to conveyancing and third party claims.

In mitigation of sentence, he told the court he touted for work to procure as much conveyancing as possible. As the practice grew, the economy crumbled, and many clients were unable to pay fees owing to the firm.

"In excess of R23 million was owing to the firm in the litigation department, and our income dried up overnight," he said.

He was too "soft-hearted" to retrench staff and hoped to get the firm back on its feet with third party claims.

"I started committing fraud to keep the firm going... I made a mistake."

Most of the firm's income was used to pay salaries, office rental and the touts.

At no stage had he ever intended to take third party payouts, and not repay the money, he said.

Liquidation proceedings against the firm forced its closure, and one of the complainants in the case also had him sequestrated. According to court papers the fraud and theft charges against Miskey totalled R9,817,888.

He would also be sentenced for failing to keep proper accounts, as required by the Cape Law Society, illegally acting as a financial adviser and money laundering.

Miskey said his bail conditions banned him from continuing his legal practice. His name was removed from the Attorneys Roll, and he lost everything when his immovable property was auctioned.

Miskey and his wife had to sell whatever they possessed "just to stay alive". His wife also worked for the firm, but lost her job. They had to "beg for and borrow money".

The pair later started a new venture in low-cost furniture to survive.

The hearing continues on Tuesday. - Sapa

The Star

Comments by Sonny

....."Miskey had to "Beg, steal and borrow money!"......

Now he has to repent and pay back for his crime!

Sounds like 'high flyers' to me!

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