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Pattaya Daily News

06 January 2008 :: 14:01:41 pm 38124


British solicitor, 62-year-old David Rawlings, from Bexhill, Sussex who is accused of having stolen £250,000 (1,7000,000 Baht) in a scam from his clients and reportedly fled to Thailand is currently being hunted in a new attempt by the Fraud Squad to bring him to justice.
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Rawlings, who became a solicitor in 1972, was one of three partners at D. F. Rawlings and Co., of Parkhurst Road, Bexhill, when in October 1998 his two partners discovered discrepancies in client accounts amounting to £259,847. Rawlings, who had apparently used the cash to pay his children’s public school fees and huge tax debts, was sacked as a consequence. A subsequent investigation by the Law Society discovered Rawlings, over two years, had made five personal payments to himself, amounting to £51,000, and organised 11 improper payments from 47 different clients totalling over £176,000 and made incorrect transfers of £31,000 to his personal account.

Rawlings was accordingly arrested in 2000, charged with theft and deception, had his passport confiscated and was bailed to appear before magistrates. However, a magistrate was persuaded to return his passport, and he was released on bail, but rather than face the consequences, he took the opportunity to flee the UK, leaving the elderly woman who had acted as a surety for him to pay the £10,000 bail.

Rawlings was also struck off the professional roll by the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal. A spokesman from the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Geoffrey Negus, stated that he had only known of three solicitors in ten years to have embezzled cash and then gone on the run. He also said “David Rawlings’ conduct was disgraceful and he sorely let down his profession.

Following a recent review of the case and because of its seriousness, officers from Sussex Police’s major fraud unit have increased their inquiries to find him. A police spokesman declared “We have some new enquiries to follow which maybe productive and will continue to make inquiries until we have located Rawlings and brought him to justice. We would ask anyone who thinks they may have seen him or has any information about him to contact us.” Although his precise whereabouts are unknown, it is believed that he is on the run in Thailand and Sussex Police will attempt to extradite him if he is located.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Crime News

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