A former property solicitor Ian Macfarlane has been jailed for five years after fraudulently taking over freeholds in London and then demanding ground rent and other revenues.
Ian Charles Macfarlane, 56, of Winterborne Kingston, in Dorset, was handed the jail term at Bournemouth Crown Court on October 3 2016.
He was convicted on five counts of fraud by false representation at an 11-day trial, and was ordered to pay court costs of £18,000.
Macfarlane had previously been struck off as a conveyancing solicitor in Blandford in 2005.
The court heard that Ian Macfarlane identified freeholds of properties, mainly in the London area, where he recognised that the freeholder had been missing or absent. He then falsified documents to the Land Registry in order to transfer properties into the name of his company, Kingston Property Management or other false names.
In order to do this Ian Macfarlane broke the trust of Chester & Co solicitors, whose name he used in order to process documents through the Land Registry.
Once Ian Macfarlane became in control of the freeholds, he was then able to demand ground rent, offer lease extensions and the sale of the freeholds to leaseholders living within each property. He stood to gain in excess of £200,000 had he been successful.
Dorset Police said: “The case started in 2011 and involved a complicated and extensive investigation into the possession of a number of properties.
“I would like to pay tribute to the witnesses in this case – many of whom had to travel from across the country in order to give evidence at court during a prolonged trial.
“I hope this sentence shows that we take allegations of fraud extremely seriously and will bring offenders to justice.”
LKP would very much like to hear from leaseholders caught up in this fraud by Ian Macfarlane and his Kingston Property Management. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian Macfarlane’s legal career ended in 2005 after he stole more than £825,000 from the Inland Revenue by paying money into a bogus bank account he had set up in the name of “Ian Revue”.
He was jailed for three years and nine months.
Ian Macfarlane, who then lived in a £750,000 country house in Winterborne Kingston, drove a Mercedes and educated his children at an independent prep school, used his “simple, almost childlike, fraud” to help fund his lifestyle.
Ian Macfarlane, a partner at Traill & Co, in Blandford Forum, Dorset, should have sent clients’ stamp duty payments to the Inland Revenue using the company chequebook. Instead, he wrote cheques to “I. Revue”, which looked very similar when hurriedly written.
He admitted 26 charges of theft and asked for 137 offences to be considered.
Congratulations to Dorset Police for persisting with a fraud case, doubtless encouraged by the dodgy past of this struck-off solicitor.
Most police forces run a mile from fraud cases, and LKP has not been resoundingly successful in interesting them in leasehold frauds of one sort or another. Then again, the Serious Fraud Office’s abysmal reputation in this area is recorded on this site here
Knowing nothing about this case, we are surprised it took 11 days for this case to work its way through the criminal courts. The expense of that would have been staggering.
No wonder most police forces presented with evidence of fraud in leasehold think of every conceivable reason why they should do nothing at all.
Are the Courts (civil/criminal) aware of the additional connection between him & Stephen R. Boon of Eyre & Johnson Solicitors Ltd?
In 1993 Boon is struck-off – a Mortgage Fraud perpetrated by clients (point 3 of Judges Findings)
1996 Eyre & Johnson Ltd t/a E & J Ests with Boon, Beamish, Tuttiett & Elliott – usual faces
2005 – Ian Charles Macfarlane is sent down for £825,000 plus pence, this is the same year that Eyre & Johnson apply for the Solicitors SIC Code from Co’s Hse
2007 – Macfarlane assigns his entire property portfolio to Asset Property Management Ltd
Both parties use J.B. Leitch
2013 – All parties are present and accounted for in the matter of Rooker Court Ringwood Road Poole Dorset. – L.EA.S.E. No. 9472, Applicant R.M.B. Trading Ltd
Asset are the Managing Agent on the way out with DMA on the way in with the case represented by Boon – very good bedtime reading especially as it is a new build…
A very good friend of mine will be over the moon with this news as she nearly lost her Flat to MacFarlane in 2008 which ironically started with a dispute as to how and when the Freehold came in to his possession. An incorrect address for Kingston was used and handled by J.B. Leitch, it was a classic case of falsifying a Debt to legalise a case.
Really chuffed to bits with this news!!!!
Very Interested says
This is very good news. I will expand on this comment when I have completed my investigation…
Looking forward to hear from you then when you complete your research. Conveyancing lawyers need much stricter regulation, (actually all self styled “property consultants” Lettings /management agents and other scambags should be regulated in some way, they have far too much power and no apparent obligations) the SRA is far too lax with them, it’s a free for all.
Leaseholder I agree with your sentiments entirely. I think the party will soon be over for the Peverel/ County estate management bully boys and girls and their puppet solicitors/ surveyors who are in cahoots with them. CEM is.now operating under the name of ‘Westbury Residential’. I would be interested to hear if anybody has experienced them? Change is coming!!
Yes I have ‘Experienced’ Westbury Residential’ who seem to have the exact same hierarchy as defunct CEM- and the same ‘Ethos. CONNECTED COMPANIES.’. Treeview Trading purchase the Freehold title then insert Westbury to ‘Manage’ then use contractors from under the RCP umbrella. CHECK IT OUT.
Would I be correct in believing that under current legislation when Mr Macfarlane has served his sentence, he would be free if he so chose to set up a property management/freehold company and handle resident service charge accounts?
Yes. You would be correct in assuming that a convict could serve his/ her sentence and set up a management/ Freehold company. It is absolutely scandalous. There must be legislation to ensure that the cowboy operators out there are brought to heel. They know who they are!
Yes he could also be a “property consultant”, getting paid to hand out tips on how to circumvent the law…. there is now some (rather weak) legislation stating, that to manage an HMO you have to be a ‘fit’ individual, but a child could work out how to get round that little problem. This country is being strangled by little scams devised to “manage” property and exploit people who try to live a decent life in their homes.
What a total scumbag. There are more like him out there .
Re anon posting. ‘Tree view Trading I think came about in 1995 when it took over the freehold from Freshwater Properties. Is was the sister company to county estate management who managed a block of flats In London until anLVT ruling appointed a receiver manager in 2009 for a three year term. County estate are now called Westbury manager and the director of that agency is also a director of the railway and bicycle management co,/3-7 Walpole stLondonLtd and 2-3 Bedford st London Limited. The Freehold of Railway &Bicycle Aparments was purchased in2015 and the Walpole st Freehold in2012. The leaseholders were unhappy with the previous mangagement at ‘Houlton House’ Walpole st and LVT appointed a manager and chose Westbury purely on the basis that they were less expensive than the other Management agency in the running. This is made clear in the judgement and in no other way was Westbury considered superior….
I did not make clear in previous comment that ‘Westbury’ who was appointed Receiver manager in 2013 was also involved in the ‘management’ of the previous agency who was kicked out by the leaseholders. I am unsure how that can happen? Surely the LVT were unaware of the connection?
I was informed that Alison Mooney who is the director of Westbury Residential LTD was involved in the management of Houlton House in Walpole street Chelsea when the leaseholders elected to dismiss that management team and went FTT.Somehow, Alison Mooney was then elected by FTT as a replacement? I do not believe that the Tribunal Judge could have been made aware that Alison Mooney was part of the previous defective management team. It does seem most odd that a manager who has been rejected by the leaseholders is then foisted upon them again? I think that it was around this time that the Freehold title changed hands. I think that some investigation is required into the FTT ruling which was in 2013. This is how Leaseholders are blind sided and wonder why they keep getting more of the same old,same old. It has gotta stop.