Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Shropshire lawyer who cheated lotto client struck off

Shropshire lawyer who cheated lotto client struck off

A lawyer who helped strip a £9 million lottery winner from Shropshire of part of his fortune was thrown out of the profession today.

Keith Gough, from Bridgnorth, was a client of solicitor Nicholas Heywood when an illicit loan was taken out in the winner’s name without Mr Gough knowing.

Heywood transferred a £13,750 share of the £225,000 loan to his own account.

Mr Gough, 58, was duped out of a total of £700,000, which he handed to a fraudster who claimed he was investing in business ventures.

The former baker, who blew most of his fortune on gambling, later drank himself to death, claiming the lottery win ruined his life.

Jailing Heywood for six months at Chester Crown Court last January, a judge said Heywood knew what he was doing was wrong and his behaviour was ‘unforgivable and reprehensible’.

Heywood, 47, did not attend a disciplinary hearing in central London that effectively ended his career as a lawyer, when he was struck off the solicitors’ roll.

In a letter to the tribunal he said he was bankrupt and could not afford the train fare from his home in Bolton. Heywood admitted money laundering, perverting the course of justice and prejudicing a money laundering investigation.

Panel chairman Andrew Spooner said: “We take note of the judge’s sentencing comments, in particular his reference to saying that, as a solicitor, on each occasion the respondent knew what he was doing was wrong. These are very serious matters.”

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