The judge and other lawyers were found to have inflated massively.

A "greedy" judge and three other lawyers have been found guilty of defrauding the Legal Aid Agency by falsely claiming huge sums in legal defence costs.

The court convicted part-time immigration judge and barrister Rasib Ghaffar of conspiring to inflate legal fees in an "outrageous" scheme, along with solicitor advocate Azar Khan, solicitor Joseph Kyeremeh and legal clerk Gazi Khan.  

The fraud arose from applications made under Defendant's Costs Orders (DCOs) in criminal proceedings, which allows acquitted defendants and their lawyers to reclaim legal costs from government funds.

Police were alerted to suspicious DCOs being submitted to the Legal Aid Agency. Officers investigated four particular cases, where the dodgy lawyers had represented acquitted defendants, who had then applied for costs totalling £1.8m. Around £470k was paid out, courtesy of the taxpayer.

The court found that the lawyers had submitted fraudulent DCOs. The prosecution said that Azar Khan (who was a partner at City Law Solicitors, now defunct) vastly exaggerated his fees in one matter where he claimed over 500 hours of work, costing over £162,000. The prosecution also said the firm had falsely backdated work, to include a long period when it was not instructed; which resulted in a payment of £93,000 from the taxpayer's purse.

The court heard that Joseph Kyeremeh, a partner at the same firm, fraudulently inflated his time on one matter to claim 650 hours work, at a value of over £176,000, with £60k coming from public funds.

The prosecution told the court that barrister Ghaffar submitted a fee note for £184,000, relating to over 350 hours of work, despite the evidence showing "he had only been instructed seven days before the conclusion of the case". The prosecution accused Ghaffar of pocketing more than £140k. Gazi Khan, described as one of the ringleaders by the prosecution, was accused of attempting three legal aid frauds.

The court convicted the legal quartet of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

Judge Philip Bartle KC lambasted Ghaffar: “I don’t need to tell you as a member of the bar the exceptional seriousness of which you have been found guilty." 

Bartle said that there was "no shadow of a doubt" that the DCO application for £1.8 million was "dishonest" because "nothing like that figure had been incurred in reality." He went on to say that the scheme was "absolutely outrageous" and a "dishonest attempt to get money out of public funds".

"This is as a result of greed, for the sake of greed, forging documents and claiming vast sums of money for work that was not done,” concluded Bartle.

Ghaffar denied the charge of fraud during the trial. When being led from the dock, he told the judge: “I’ve never been greedy in my life, I’ve never been taught greed, and I’ll never be greedy until the day I die," according to a report in The Times.

Ghaffar was remanded in custody and will be sentenced in March. Azar Khan, Gazi Khan and Kyeremeh have already been sentenced to serve time in jail.

Malcolm McHaffie of the CPS said: “These convicted defendants defrauded the Legal Aid Agency for their own purposes. They fraudulently took advantage of a statutory scheme which was designed to help acquitted defendants with their genuinely incurred legal costs."

“The Metropolitan Police and the CPS worked closely together to bring these corrupt legal professionals to justice and are now facing the consequences of their wrongdoing," McHaffie added. “The CPS will now commence confiscation proceedings in order to reclaim the defendants’ proceeds derived from the fraud.”

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Tip Off ROF


Spotty Lizard 23 February 24 08:55

"I've never been taught greed". British education has really gone downhill. I'll bet his grammar is also atrocious. 

Sigh.... 23 February 24 09:58

Expect to see this publicized in the right-wing press in the next few months to justify the swingeing cuts to the MoJ budgets, legal aid etc

Anonymous 23 February 24 10:03

"What % of comments are ROF filtering out on this article?" - 100% of mine so far. Apparently there are a couple of aspects of, and implications from, this story that it isn't polite to dwell on.

@09:58 23 February 24 10:44

You think we have right wing press in this country? Name one national organ that doesn't do atleast two of the following: dare to not use someone's declared preferred pronouns? That doesn't have major DEI initiatives? That doesn't change it's logo for pride? We don't have a right wing media we have pro establishment and far left.

Anonymous 23 February 24 11:18

"Expect to see this publicized in the right-wing press in the next few months to justify the swingeing cuts to the MoJ budgets, legal aid etc" - Is there no end to their far-right wickedness? How could they possibly use this story of brazen and egregious fraud, endemic across a range of individuals working in concert together, and at a scale so substantial as to suggest they felt no fear of being caught, to suggest that those budgets are principally used to subsidise the lifestyles of crooks and fraudsters (both inside and outside of the dock)?! Like, how on earth will they manage to twist it that way?

Gallus Anonymus 23 February 24 12:17

“Greedy judge and lawyers” is it something new? Fine, fine… everybody start to be greedy, but copy and paste shouldn’t be so expensive . I’m so glad that “Google “ exists. If you are not guilty , you don’t need a lawyer. And everything else you can put together and learn , it’s good for brain to exercise . Lawyers are office workers, which if you have got money and no time to write example agreement you have to use “office worker “ because real business people have to make money and not be writing about other things. Law is simple only lawyers complicated. If something went wrong, figure out how to correct by not using a lawyers !

Anonymous Anonymous 23 February 24 13:07

Another example of giving the legal profession a bad name. Long prison sentences due to set an example.

Bumbling on? 25 February 24 11:34

Gallus Anonymus 23 February 24 12:17’

So you’re on a legal site (full of lawyers) saying that clients never need lawyers for anything because everyone should DIY?

You realise this isn’t like Ikea flat pack where everyone has a go at everything?  

I don’t feel like wasting my time by schooling you on what the benefits of using lawyers are but if you do go down your particular approach - think twice before doing it in criminal proceedings. Also think about trying to learn and understand the law whilst being a suspect or being sued.. not everyone has time, inclination, intellect or experience to advise themselves.

What a sweeping misleading ill informed inaccurate statement… you shouldn’t be giving advice… ever. 


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