Firms To Watch: General crime and fraud

Basharat Hussain heads ‘a fast growing and innovative’ team at Hussain Solicitors which routinely advises defendants on a variety of complex and high-profile cases involving terrorism, fraud and murder.

General crime and fraud in West Midlands

Jonas Roy Bloom

Birmingham's Jonas Roy Bloom is home to a small team of well-respected practitioners handling a range of criminal cases, with a particular specialism in motoring and money laundering offences.

Other key lawyers:

Ben Henry: Matt O’Brien; Steven Jonas; Fergal Bloomer

Testimonials

The team is well reputed for its strong work ethic, professional diligence and client care. Testament to the quality of the firm’s work is that the fact that they attract clients from all over the UK, including high profile financial crimes in London court centres‘.

Ben Henry is unique in that he is ruthless in the pursuit of his client’s aims, yet utterly diplomatic with all parties at all times. He is very well regarded in the region and identified as the “go to” solicitor for private clients and all matters concerning financial complexity and sensitivity. He has a tremendous work ethic and an eagle’s eye for detail. Matt O’Brien is renowned for his fierce intellect and down to earth approach with clients‘.

‘This practice combines pragmatism with an in-depth knowledge of the law. They seem to have all the benefits of a small firm with a big firm reputation. Ben Henry is a standout practitioner. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law with a great bedside manner. Ben’s client care is first-class. He is calm, measured and completely reassuring. He is well known by everybody and has earned a top reputation in the Midlands‘.

It is a very high quality criminal law firm – I would say the leading practice in the region. The team specialises in dealing with white collar crime and business people who never expected to be involved in the criminal justice system. They have a very good manner with clients they are very reassuring. Ben Henry has a very calm and thoughtful approach.  Ben is always available and has a clear pragmatic approach’.

‘I predominantly work with Ben Henry and Matt O’Brien; whilst they are both approximately 15 years qualified, they have a gravitas and depth of knowledge that would be more befitting of a 40 years’ qualified lawyer’.

‘Absolute dedication to their clients. For me they excel above others in taking real care of their clients’ cases, including, when required, the more pastoral side when dealing with defendants facing criminal matters’.

‘Ben Henry. Extremely calm, unflappable, diligent, hardworking and a real expert in the field of corporate crime. Matt O’Brien is brilliant with clients. A good listener. Always able to deliver reliable, clear and accurate advice in an accessible and straightforward manner. Very good at finding practical solutions to problems‘.

‘Very dynamic team. Matt O’Brien is superb. Straight-talking, intelligent, strategically clever. Ben Henry is able to deal with the heaviest matters with the lightest touch. A heavyweight, intelligent lawyer, who understands strategy‘.

Work highlights

    Kangs Solicitors

    Hamraj Kang leads an experienced and large team at Kangs Solicitors that routinely advises on the most serious fraud cases throughout the country as well as cross-jurisdictional and high-value fraud cases.  The nimble team is recommended too for its criminal defence work involving murders, serious sexual offences, complex drug conspiracies and conspiracies to pervert the course of justice. John Veale  concentrates on complex fraud cases while Helen Holder heads the Crown Court department. Timothy Thompson is highly rated for his work on fraud investigations involving crypto assets and crypto currencies. Veale, Holder and Thompson have recently been promoted to the partnership where the ‘team is at top of its game, with a wealth of knowledge and experience in handling high profile work‘.

    Practice head(s):

    Hamraj Kang

    Testimonials

    ‘It is an impressive firm of solicitors with a very well-respected ability in litigating financial crime cases. Its solicitors are sophisticated individuals who are adept in the defence of complex and demanding criminal cases. Particularly in relation to this area of work, it is a stand-out form within the industry‘.

    Kangs Solicitors is the standout shining star of criminal litigation firms in the West Midlands. It leads the way in criminal defence work for other firms to follow. What makes the firm unique is the quality of the work it receives from all corners of the country. Clients come to the firm for its exceptionally experienced and gifted team of solicitors‘.

    ‘There is quality all the way through the firm and the service is excellent. What makes it unique is its ability to draw on a wide variety of disciplines to provide encompassing advice on criminal and civil liability, as well as potential tax issues. They can manage an urgent situation with the shortest of notice‘.

    ‘Hamraj Kang – Rapidly becoming a legend within the defence of criminal fraud. He is approachable and has truly excellent judgment. Loved by clients and with good reason – he can distil the most complex points into a road map for success in litigation. Reads every page of the cases that he works on and understands it all’.

    Hamraj Kang is an innovator who can always see the bigger picture and is always ahead of the game. It is a firm that has come out of the pandemic stronger due to its work ethic‘.

    Tim Thompson is a first-class solicitor, with excellent client-care skills, and a highly impressive work ethic, ensuring that no stone is left unturned. He takes a 24-7 attitude to the job, and is an absolute pleasure to work with’.

    ‘A relatively small firm, but exceptionally well-regarded, locally and nationally. Clients receive a first-class service from everyone in the firm, partners, assistant solicitors, office staff. Fraud is a speciality, but they provide excellent representation for all criminal clients, whatever offences are alleged. If I was asked to recommend a firm of solicitors in crime, Kangs would be first on my list’.

    Very reputable crime solicitors operating in the Midlands and beyond. Dedicated team with talented, experienced individuals. I can recommend Helen Holder. Committed, legally-astute, adopts a collaborative approach to tackle problems on behalf of her clients. Highly recommended‘.

    Work highlights

    • Representing a senior banking executive in relation to allegations of multi-million pounds worth of tax evasion in relation to numerous overseas jurisdictions.
    • Representing a chartered surveyor in relation to an international property fraud investigated by the SFO with a value in excess of £200m.
    • Representing a solicitor charged with a multi-million pound conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to cheat HMRC and fraudulent trading.

    Cartwright King

    Cartwright King has a well-established reputation for its work in defending investigations and prosecutions that are brought  by the SFO, the CPS and other agencies such as the National Crime Agency. Clients are often directors, senior employees and the management of multinational companies. It is highly rated for its experience in online and cyber-crime and is regularly instructed by high profile ‘hackers’ . John Allchin is a grade ‘A’ supervisor under the VHCC arrangements. Allchin receives many plaudits as someone ‘who combines considerable legal knowledge and excellent judgement with a caring attitude towards his clients‘.  Sue Swan frequently represents police officers facing criminal and misconduct allegations.Michael Balmer is now at Weightmans LLP.

    Other key lawyers:

    Sue Swan

    Testimonials

    ‘The team at Cartwright King is without exception hardworking and clients benefit from its strength in depth‘.

    Alongside his extensive experience of financial crime, John Allchin brings an exceptional work ethic and clear eyed tactical focus. The unusual level of support that he provides to both counsel and client ensures their case is presented in the best way possible‘.

    ‘The team is knowledgeable and provides clear and straightforward advice to clients. The lawyers are supportive of their clients – from initial instruction stage through to conclusion of the matter. Where they require expert advice, this is identified at an early stage and the relevant expertise is brought in to assist on the matter‘.

    John Allchin is an excellent solicitor – he is knowledgeable and responsive to the needs of his clients, providing the best advice possible. He is open with his clients as to the all possible outcomes, whether worse-case or best-case so that they can make informed decisions. He is readily available, identifies the need for experts at an early stage and engages with them on a regular basis to ensure that matters are progressed. He is responsive to the requests of his experts and always does the very best for his clients‘.

    The team has an in-depth knowledge of the unique complexities of fraud and tax investigations.  It is my “go to firm” to recommend to any of our clients who are suffering from such an investigation. John Allchin is always willing to give pragmatic, no nonsense advice to a range of my clients at the earliest opportunity. I have also been impressed with his attention to detail‘.

    ‘John Allchin is outstanding. His grasp of complex frauds and all complex crime is second-to-none and his attention to detail is excellent. His expertise, combined with a charming manner and lively sense of humour endear him to clients‘.

    ‘Cartwright King has strong reputation for financial crime and business crime across the Midlands. It is unique in that it has a healthy balance of experience, expertise and down to earth friendly approach. Its strength lies in the seniority of its team and the wealth of experience that arises from this‘.

    ‘John Allchin is very well regarded within the region for his meticulous attention to detail, his spartan work ethic and his commitment to client care. He is very experienced and brings with him a wealth of knowledge in how to defence complex and serious financial crimes‘.

    Work highlights

    • Acting on behalf of a defendant alleged to have been involved in £123m cheat on the public revenue through a sophisticated scheme to avoid the payment of VAT and duties on goods imported from China.
    • Defending a company director in connection with an NHS Counter Fraud Authority investigation into the alleged falsification of testing documents submitted during a tendering process for contracts worth £300m.
    • Acting on behalf of an equities trader in the American markets alleged to have defrauded £9m from investors.

    Alsters Kelley Solicitors Ltd

    The crime department at Alsters Kelley Solicitors Ltd is led by Jas Thiara, who is a High Court Advocate. The group has a primary focus on the West Midlands and Warwickshire areas and advises clients at the police station all the way through to the High Court. Thiara has a broad practice and routinely advises clients on issues as diverse as food safety regulations as well as motoring offences and professional conduct matters.

    Practice head(s):

    Jas Thiara

    Testimonials

    Jas Thiara has been involved now in a number of the most important extradition cases in England and Wales and to have done so outside the London area is truly exceptional. . Her preparation for cases is intuitive and thorough, she has excellent judgement and her manner with clients is exceptional. I wish all my solicitors were as able and personable‘.

    Alsters Kelley provides excellent client care service, you can tell that their clients matter and the instructions to Chambers are meticulously prepared. Jas Thiara goes that extra mile for clients‘.

    Jas Thiara is an excellent criminal solicitor with wide ranging experience across all areas of criminal law. First-class client care combined with a thorough forensic approach‘.

    Work highlights

      Clyde & Co

      Clyde & Co merged with BLM in summer 2022, acquiring a Birmingham-based fraud practice which covers the full spectrum of claims including fraudulent travel claims. Practice leader Sarah Hill handles all aspects of fraud such as large scale organised fraud and high-value exaggerated fraud cases. Other names to note include Daniel Thomas and Ben FitzHugh. Carole Eaton and Sian Owen-Atkins are also well-regarded.

      Practice head(s):

      Sarah Hill

      Testimonials

      ‘Sian Owen-Atkins – well prepared, robust and pragmatic’.

      ‘One of the leading teams, with a wealth of experience.’

      Key clients

      MIB

      DLG

      Ageas

      Allianz

      Tesco

      Sainsburys

      Penn

      QBE

      Zurich

      Work highlights

      • Achieved a fundamental dishonesty finding on an injury claim with a reserve in excess of £1.5m.
      • Successfully defended in full, a spurious credit hire claim with savings of over £350k.
      • Successfully defended three suspected fraudulent injury claims to trial and recovered circa £50k in wasted costs for the client.

      DWF

      The excellent team at DWF acts for nine large composite insurers as well as the Lloyds Market, corporates and self-insured. The team has considerable sector strength in diverse areas such as financial, retail and logistics. Lorraine Carolan  leads the firm’s national fraud and financial crime offering. Michael Henman specialises in representing motor insurers in the defence of fraudulent claims. Miles Hepworth  also has considerable expertise in counter-fraud and claims validation.

      Key clients

      Allianz

      Hastings

      First Central

      Sabre

      Admiral

      Aviva

      NFU Mutual

      QBE

      Markerstudy

      RSA

      Insure the Box

      Covea

      Ageas

      LV=

      Work highlights

      • Successfully acted for the defendant insurer and the policyholder after a claimant brought a personal injury claim for damages arising out of a road traffic accident.
      • Successfully acted for the insurer in relation to two separate cases that were brought by the policyholders for breach of contract.

      GQS Solicitors

      GQS Solicitors advises on issues as diverse as complex fraud to defending individuals who are accused of serious crimes such as murder, drug offences and human trafficking.  Ishfaq Qadir and Ahmer Sattar jointly lead the team that also has a specialist regulatory unit as well as a group that deals with motoring offences.

      Practice head(s):

      Ishfaq Qadir; Ahmer Sattar

      Testimonials

      ‘A firm with excellent client care skills that consistently go above and beyond expectations. Ishfaq Qadir is incredibly thorough and diligent. He’s great with clients and counsel alike. A true professional’.

      Small firm that gives a great service. Ishfaq Qadir is extremely knowledgeable and insightful‘.

      GQS provides a first class service to its clients in terms of: offering face to face meetings whenever possible, reassurance, first class advice and a can do attitude. I have often heard clients state how this firm makes them feel important. The team is well-known for large scale fraud work‘.

      I  have worked on many cases with one of the partners, Ishfaq Qadir, in fraud and general crime cases. He is first rate. His ability to digest huge amounts of material and advise the client succinctly is a wonder to behold. He always makes himself available to his clients on request. His instructions to counsel contain a full assessment of the evidence and he prides himself on obtaining the best result for his clients‘.

      The lawyers are extremely experienced and have proven expertise in representing clients for many years in serious and substantial complex fraud cases. They understand the need for organisation and discipline in the preparation of these types of specialist cases‘.

      ‘I have worked closely with Ishfaq Qadir over the last four years on two very substantial fraud cases. He is an extremely talented solicitor. He is highly organised, immensely professional and excellent with clients. He is a joy to work with‘.

      Work highlights

      • Advising on a case concerning drug dealing in South Wales. Millions of pounds worth of cocaine was driven in from England, and hundreds of thousands of pounds worth was sold on.   The allegation is that its client is the head of an organised crime group in Wales which arranges for the delivery of large quantities of class A drugs, namely cocaine, from elsewhere and then distributes those drugs on a large scale.
      • Advised on confiscation proceedings. The case dealt with fraud and money laundering offences committed by members of an organised crime group between 2013 and 2016. The fraud concerned the sale of investments in non-existent schemes.
      • Advised on a case involving an investment fraud whereby investors were induced to enter into a three-year property investment bond through a company. Investors were led to believe that they were investing in a fund to be used for the purchase of distressed residential properties in the London and Essex area, which would be developed or refurbished and resold at a profit.

      Kang & Co Solicitors

      Kang & Co Solicitors advises on a broad range of private criminal defence matters including accusations of assault, murder and manslaughter. It frequently represents clients for various motoring offences in addition to other regulatory, transport and licensing matters. Manjinder Kang and Thomas Wheeler  co-head the team.

      Practice head(s):

      Manjinder Kang; Thomas Wheeler

      Testimonials

      Manjinder and Thomas are excellent. They provide sharp legal advice which always gets to the root of the legal issues in any given case. They provide an exceptional level of service and hand-holding to clients‘.

      ‘Manjinder Kang has an exceptional ‘bed-side manner’ when advising clients. He understands the potential outcomes and options for clients from the outset‘.

      The attention to detail is definitely a step ahead of other solicitors. They really take the time to get to know the client’s situation and this helps them give more suitable advice. Manjinder Kang is a very driven individual and really wanted to get the best result possible for me‘.

      ‘The team is well led by Manjinder Kang who has grown a strong team around him with particular experience in private criminal and road traffic defence. Manjinder Kang is very experienced in defending road traffic prosecutions. He is excellent with clients, pragmatic but robust when necessary‘.

      ‘Very honest and straightforward. Keeps expectations grounded, very professional team. Price is honest in comparison to other practices, especially with the amount of work involved‘.

      Work highlights

        Keoghs LLP

        Keoghs LLP has a strong national offering that defends both commercial and domestic drivers who are involved in serious road traffic accidents that often result in catastrophic and fatal injuries. Head of department is Coventry-based Tim Ingram who is a known name for his work in the defence of motorists across the entire spectrum of road traffic offences.

         

        Practice head(s):

        Tim Ingram

        Other key lawyers:

        Shan Cutts

         

        Testimonials

        Keoghs is a ‘one stop’ for all legal needs from civil to fraud assistance. It has exceptional teams covering every area of law from fraud to motor, recoveries and enforcement. It is market leading and it has access to every virtual platform known to technology. It was easy to reach the team during a global pandemic‘.

        Superb knowledge and experience in road traffic crime acting for clients supported and funded by all the major insurers. Covering commercial and domestic drivers of vehicles of all types. Huge experience of medical and mechanical defences. Familiarity with the leading expert witnesses in medical issues and road traffic collision reconstruction‘.

        Tim Ingram brings many years of specialist work to bear on all his cases. He has appeared in many of the high profile motor crime cases in the last 10 years.’

        ‘Shan Cutts is a vastly experienced solicitor who fights very hard for her clients‘.

        Key clients

        Aviva

        Direct line

        1st Central

        AXA

        Addison Lee

        QBE

        Zurich

        Allianz

        Saisbury’s

        OVO Energy

        LV

        Work highlights

        • Successfully defended a HGV driver on an allegation of causing death by dangerous driving.
        • Successfully defended a civilian driver on two counts of causing death by careless driving.
        • Successfully defended a tipper driver on an allegation of causing death by careless driving.

        Lanyon Bowdler

        Stephen Scully at Lanyon Bowdler is vastly experienced in defending motoring offences. The team has three experienced solicitor advocates and also garners praise for its work in dealing with Environment Agency prosecutions in addition to health and safety matters. Under the direction of Shrewsbury-based Adrian Roberts  it is also recommended for its work on court martials.

        Practice head(s):

        Adrian Roberts

        Other key lawyers:

        Stephen Scully

        Testimonials

        ‘Friendly and approachable team. Stephen Scully makes his clients feel at ease and goes over and above to assist them‘.

        ‘An approachable, professional firm where members of the team work to a high standard to provide a quality of service to clients that many would struggle to match‘.

        Stephen Scully continues to be an exceptional example of all a criminal solicitor should be. He is able to provide a pragmatic, sensible approach and is right with the client from their first meeting, to the conclusion of the case. Stephen ensures that he keeps a high level of communication open for counsel and client alike, and his preparation and attention to detail when dealing with a matter are excellent’.

        ‘Excellent criminal department, organised, experienced. Adrian Roberts – senior partner, loads of experience, capable of handling the most complex criminal cases with a calm, measured and experienced approach. Excellent preparation for trials which assists trial counsel. Finds and instructs high calibre experts where required. Ensures conferences with trial counsel take place in a timely fashion‘.

        ‘The solicitors are dedicated to providing their clients with robust and honest advice. They do not shy away from difficult and complicated cases, having several higher courts advocates with sufficient experience in the Crown Court to be able to properly advise clients themselves and yet call in the assistance of counsel specialising in a particular field if required. Refreshingly and most importantly their service is not profit driven, their clients’ interests always taking first place‘.

        ‘Adrian Roberts is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for police station attendance to advise arrested clients and his sensible approach at such an early stage has led to the discontinuance of many cases. Adrian’s vast criminal experience eclipses that of many junior counsel’.

        Work highlights