Former attorney appears for fraud

2015-01-27 22:19

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Cape Town - An attorney struck from the roll 11 years ago, but who allegedly continued to practise as a "legal adviser", appeared in a Cape Town court on Tuesday, facing five counts of fraud.

Hugh Pollard, 62, of Simonstown, was not asked to plead when he appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.

The proceedings took an unusual turn when Pollard's lawyer, Willem Naude, announced he would become a defence witness in the case.

This obliged him to withdraw as Pollard's lawyer, and attorney Joe Weber was appointed to take over the defence, Naude said.

Prosecutor Derek Vogel alleges Pollard illegally owned and operated the Legal Advice Office (LAO), and advertised his services on the internet.

The LAO offered free telephonic and e-mail legal advice in all areas of the law, based on 30 years' experience "in the legal field", and the use of updated technology.

To save costs, LAO engaged practising attorneys and "other legal professionals", only when needed, the advertisement claimed.

The advertising invited people to telephone LAO for free legal advice on any issues, and said queries could be sent to the office by e-mail, fax, and ordinary post.

On the first two counts it is alleged that a divorce client paid him R383 000 between January and March 2012, under the impression that Pollard was a practising attorney.

On the third count, another client allegedly paid LAO R7 300 to send off a letter of demand on an LAO letterhead, and the issue of a summons, in a debt matter. This client was under the impression that Pollard was a duly admitted, practising attorney.

On the fourth charge, the victim in a fraudulent car transaction (not involving Pollard) engaged LAO, after searching the internet for a local law firm to help him.

The victim paid Pollard R1 500 for a letter of demand, and later R7 500 for the issue of a summons.

On the final charge, Pollard allegedly received R10 000 from another divorce client to prepare for high court litigation involving a maintenance variation order.

The case was postponed to 23 February.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fraud  |  crime

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