SENTENCED: Solicitor and partner defraud firm out of tens of thousands
Main article content
A couple who defrauded a firm of solicitors out of over £60,000, after they submitted over-inflated payment claims for translation services on criminal casefiles, were sentenced at Inner London Crown Court on Friday 13 March 2020.
Babita Attra, 41, of Muncies Mews, Catford, was sentenced to:
Conspiracy to Defraud – 2 years custodial sentence (suspended for two years)
Transferring Criminal Property – 12 months (to run concurrent)
Forgery – 12 months (to run concurrent)
Alexandru Major, 35, of Royston Gardens, Ilford, was sentenced to:
Conspiracy to Defraud – 3 years custodial sentence
Transferring Criminal Property – 18 months (to run concurrent)
Forgery – 18 months (to run concurrent)
Attra, a consultant solicitor working for a firm based on Fleet Street, introduced Major to her colleagues and suggested he could be utilised as a translator for casefiles. Major was already an accredited police station representative for those requiring legal aid, whilst also owning an interpreter and translation services company.
It is standard procedure for a firm of solicitors to submit quotes for services such as translations to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA), in order for the LAA to assess and approve the funding. In four separate cases, Attra manipulated the forms sent to the LAA, requesting payment for the translation of casefiles. She submitted quotes including those from Major’s company, but would purposely not include some of the lower quotes provided by other companies during the ‘tendering process’, allowing Major’s company to appear to be the most cost-effective and thus receive the work.
In total, the LAA authorised payments of £82,743.48 to Major between March 2016 and February 2017, when in fact the true cost of the work he carried out was only £19,431.40.
In return for her help in securing him the work at the over-inflated price, Major transferred £15,300, of his £63,312.08 fraudulent earnings, to Attra’s bank account.
Detective Constable Karl Rose, from the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad, said:
“Attra and Major have colluded in order to commit fraud and steal this company’s money. I have no doubt that if the discrepancies in this case were not noticed by those at the law firm and brought to our attention, they would still be offending today. Rightfully, they have now been punished for their selfish and unlawful actions.”