Megan Fletcher, instructed by Hardeep Dhaliwal of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, represented her client at his sentencing hearing. He had pleaded guilty at PTPH to one count of conspiracy to defraud banking and insurance institutions and one count of entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement. Businesses were set up and numerous insurance policies were taken out on the business premises, including policies covering loss of earnings. Water pipes were subsequently manipulated in the premises and false claims were made on the policies for water damage and loss of earnings.
The conspiracy ran for around 5 years and resulted in a total loss of about £944,000. Megan’s client and another also falsely obtained credit from American Express in the sum of around £90,000.
The Prosecutor submitted that all defendants should be sentenced on the basis of the global conspiracy. Megan successfully argued that her client should be sentenced on the basis of his personal involvement, which was limited on the Crown’s evidence to only one of the five premises and therefore to £83,000 of the fraud. He also falsely received approximately £19,000 credit from American Express.
Megan was instructed in this matter the day before the sentencing hearing, and was able to quickly understand the extensive evidence and her client’s role within the conspiracy. She identified that her client was the youngest of the conspirators and involved in the lowest value substantive fraud within the conspiracy, with no evidence of any knowledge of the wider criminality. Megan put forward succinct but powerful personal mitigation and requested that the Judge follow the recommendations of the Pre-Sentence Report, taking her client outside of the Sentencing Guidelines.
In sentencing, the Judge commented that the personal mitigation had persuaded him to reduce the sentence of imprisonment to one which could be suspended, and went on to do so. Her client received a total of 20 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, along with an unpaid work requirement. Of the 5 defendants sentenced today, Megan’s client was the only one not to receive an immediate custodial sentence.