A solicitor has been struck off after he was found guilty of helping a conman mastermind a multi-million pound fraud.

David Horsfall, 57, ran Layard Horsfall Solicitors in Godalming, Surrey. He acted for Edward Davenoport – a convicted conman – as his solicitor leading up to the incidents in 2009 and wrote letters for Mr Davenport which led to businesses handing over money to Mr Davenport.

Mr Davenport, who was convicted in September 2011 and jailed for a period of over seven years, was found by the Crown Court to have run an “advanced fee fraud”. He ran Gresham Ltd – a supposedly well-established financial firm that specialised in sourcing large commercial loans – and persuaded businesses in need of funds to offer him advanced fees so that he could set up commercial loans for them. The businesses would hand over the money but would never receive the promised loans. According to the Financial Times, a fee of 830,000 euros was charged to one “client” as a security deposit and an Indian businessman paid £285,000 in order to finance a 183 million euro loan. The Crown Prosecution Service valued the fraud at over £12 million. Davenport was also charged at the time of his conviction for the “advanced fee fraud” with a separate £8 million fraud and money laundering scam.

Mr Horsfall wrote a letter for Mr Davenport which persuaded “clients” to hand over money. As a result of the letter, two companies paid Gresham Ltd as part of a loan agreement. One company paid £43,000 and the other £25,426 to secure potential loans. However, they never received the funds.

Mr Horsfall was subsequently investigated by the police and charged with fraud by false misrepresentation. He was successfully prosecuted and was sentenced at the Southwark Crown Court to 17 months in jail. Neither Mr Horsfall nor his criminal defence lawyer commented after the sentencing.

As well as being convicted of fraud by false misrepresentation, Mr Horsfall was also struck off the roll of solicitors after he was found guilty of professional misconduct and of bringing the reputation into disrepute after a Solicitors Regulation Authority tribunal in central London. His practicing certificate had already been revoked, despite Mr Horsfall’s claims that he needed the practicing certificate to pursue clients who owed him money.

Fraud by false misrepresentation occurs when a person:

  • Dishonestly makes a false representation; and
  • Intends, by making the representation to cause a gain for himself or another; or to cause loss to another or to expose another to the risk of loss

If you’ve been charged with fraud or any other form of offence you should obtain advice from criminal defence solicitors.

Direct 2 Lawyers can put you in touch with specialist criminal defence solicitors and fraud solicitors

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The Direct 2 Lawyers Criminal Law Team post daily on interesting criminal law cases, Crown Court decisions and Royal Courts of Justice judgments. All of the Criminal Law Team's posts are written by qualified specialist solicitors

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