Solicitor banned for overcharging of deceased clients
28th Oct 2016
Charles Rhodes, a fee-earner at former Rotherham firm Gichard & Co, misappropriated some £266,875 which he moved from the client account to the office account between 2002 and 2011. The amount was paid back after the sale of his property.
He admitted it was ‘blindingly obvious’ that his misconduct would be discovered, and explained that there were difficulties in his personal life.
In addition to misappropriating funds, inspections of files handled by Rhodes uncovered a string of deceased clients being overcharged.
In one case, almost £70,000 was withdrawn from the client account relating to nine matters for which no bills had been raised.
In another, Rhodes overcharged by 871% for works that should cost £3,450 but for which he claimed £30,050. He also created 17 fake bills for inspectors looking into his conduct, adding that he had “panicked” and created a “work of fiction” which had taken up to three days to prepare.