21 January 2016
A lawyer who asked his friends to lend him money to support his firm, then spent it on school fees and refused to pay it back, slides with aplomb into the Dodgy Solicitors top trumps pack.

John Connolly, 47, last practised as a solicitor in 2009. But the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal described how, after he was made bankrupt in 2013, he "wished to carry on with the lifestyle to which he was accustomed". Connolly approached an old colleague, named Mr JS in the proceedings, and told him that his law firm (which didn't exist) was suffering from cashflow problems. Connolly asked for a loan, promising that he would repay it as soon as his parents returned from holiday and lent him the cash. Presented with the sob story, JS lent Connolly £25,540. But instead of funding his firm, Connolly used the money to pay his children's school fees. JS, who was the godfather of one of Connolly's children, but who was probably thinking more along the lines of £10 on their birthday than £25k, never heard back.

Connolly used a classic phishing trick for his second con, in which he emailed another old friend, Mr JC, and asked him to wire him £1,000. Connolly claimed that he had been the victim of credit card fraud in South Africa, explaining that he would have asked his parents but, alas, yet again they were on holiday. Because they were buddies, Connolly actually used the cash to settle a debt with a family member and refused to repay JS.

Connolly plead guilty to two counts of fraud in the Liverpool and Knowsley Magistrates’ Court in 2014 and received a six month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He did not appear before the SDT, or offer any mitigation, and the tribunal ordered him struck off. His parents are still on holiday.
Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 22 Jan 16

He gets to walk out of court free as a bird after doing that? There's got to be something more than being waved out of court with a cheery goodbye from the judge for a 5-figure fraud in a position of trust.

Anonymous 23 Jan 16

Is it just me or is it a bit rum for someone who has had to change their name to Anonymous User, to judge another as to their honesty?

Anonymous 27 Jan 16

It is indeed just you.

For the rest of us, filling out forms to get a £50 court fee counter-signed by two partners is de rigeur. So yes, we remain a fair chalk away from lying about the existence of our practice, lying about having a practising certificate, lying to the godfather of our child about our own family and defrauding him of a sum equivalent to the average annual wage to pay for a wholly discretionary frippery like fees for a private school. And no, I don't want to tell you my name either, but you cannot imply from someone wanting privacy or anonymity that he's remotely like this particular scumbag.

Anonymous 27 Jan 16

RoF - remember to put this joker in the pack with the rest of the Dodgy Solicitor cards.

Anonymous 27 Jan 16

Blimey. I posted as Anonymous User too but being a post-modernist appears to have been lost in the red mist.

Anonymous 06 Apr 16

so his friend (also the godparent to one of his children) didn't get the £25k back then?

Anonymous 29 Jul 16

I'm the JC referred to in this blog and John was an old uni pal. Had he told me he was skint and needed a grand, I'd have given it him. He didn't need to bullshit me.

Anonymous 15 Mar 18

Bit late adding to this but I am on old work colleague of John's and he defrauded me of £750 - I know of others he approached, but I do not know whether they lent him money. Just ntoing on here as there may have been many others, not just the 2 for which he was tried and me.

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