Solicitors Regulation Authority in £33m cover-up Click To Tweet

This is an extraordinary story of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) refusing to compensate victims of a Ponzi fraud because the solicitors’ involvement did not constitute the normal business practice of solicitors i.e. solicitors don’t commit fraud as a normal part of their business, so the fund will not pay out. This guest post is by Colin Rimmer who says:

“The SRA protected their fraudulent members by concealing evidence of fraud & dishonesty, and their lack of a dishonesty allegation prevented the solicitors from being struck off after devastating 850 people’s lives.The MoJ refused to intervene against the corrupt regulator, so is complicit in the SRA’s contempt for justice against solicitor fraud and betrayal of public protection under the Legal Services Act 2007.

“Approx. 95 MPs out of 139 with impacted constituents have never offered any assistance to their impacted constituents and have ignored all requests to tackle the SRA.”

Colin Rimmer is a significant victim devastated by the fraud, has battled for justice and redress against the duplicitous SRA for 5+ years to no avail and concludes that through SRA skulduggery, legal service consumers are being put under unacceptable risk of loss.

Colin has created a petition calling for reform


88 Replies to “Solicitors Regulation Authority in £33m cover-up”

  1. Eco-house is not an extraordinary case. The SRA compensation fund needs to be taken out of the control of the SRA
    The fund needs to be far larger do it can pay -out in wider circumstances that reflect the risks corrupt solicitors pose to the public.
    Solicitors are clever, few will commit fraud in simplistic ways. The SRA,scheme pays put only in the simplest of cases.
    The LSB is conflicted and cannot adequately supervise the SRA or BSB.

  2. I am appaled at the UK legal system especially SRA and the Met Police for ignoring an obvious scam that victimise investors around the world. This is scandalous!

  3. I invested in Eco House on the strength of the ethical nature of it, the assertions that it was backed by the Brazilian Govt , the escrow protections etc . My investment went through Emerald Knight Ethical Investments who couldn’t praise Eco House enough. Needless to say, the solicitors involved , Sandersons went out of business as did Emerald Knight to avoid legal action. The light penalties of short suspensions from the legal profession are not commensurate with the illegal activity involved. a for the police, no arrests and in fact they kept changing the personnel involved! I feel as an investor , I have been ignored by all parties and left with no redress. Our group led by Colin Rimmer did have some parliamentary support but this changed with the General Election and changed duties for our most prominent MP. My own MP, John Grogan did support our group but the new MP, Robbie Moore has not.

  4. I invested in Ecohouse believing it to be an ethical investment ,helping to provide homes for impoverished people in Brazil. I thought it was safe because I was investing via British solicitors- local to where I grew up so felt confident they were all above board and I could rely on the British justice system to oversea and ensure it was safe from foul play.
    Sadly my faith in British justice has proven totally misplaced. This whole scheme was a fraud and yet the SRA have done nothing to help , only concerned with protecting themselves. Likewise my MP Suella Braveman has done nothing to help me achieve justice -as a member of the legal profession ( QC) and Attorney General for England this is despicable.

  5. “I too would like to express my utter disbelief that the SRA could so badly betray victims of a substantial fraud by trying to conceal the fraud in order to evade paying compensation, with the very undesirable side effect that fraudulent solicitors are free to continue practising and to cause more harm to their unsuspecting clients. Thank you to CorruptionUk for exposing this outrage.”

  6. I invested in Ecohouse investment by investing through Escrow accounts and have not been given justice for refund of my money

    “I too would like to express my utter disbelief that the SRA could so badly betray victims of a substantial fraud by trying to conceal the fraud in order to evade paying compensation, with the very undesirable side effect that fraudulent solicitors are free to continue practising and to cause more harm to their unsuspecting clients. Thank you to CorruptionUk for exposing this outrage.”


    Arun Sharma

  7. I am angry that I have been embroiled in this proven Ponzi Scam .,
    I am even more very angry that when recognised all government bodies failed us in our fight for compensation., this is most unjust and is intolerable
    I invested my hard earned cash after much due diligence in the Eco Housing Project hoping as well as a decent return financially,I would be helping a Brazilian to be re-homed and therefore have a better standard of living.., in doing this I was told all my Invested money would be held safe in a UK Escrow account … A complete lie
    This is not acceptable the Uk Goverment must acknowledge this and reopen our files and deal with our claims as a matter of urgency
    I have a strong faith that justice will be done and the truth will prevail ., we will not stop until compensation is granted
    Thanks must go to Colin Rimmer for his tireless campaigning and Corrupt Uk for giving us this opportunity for our voices to be heard

  8. Regulatory bodies are put in place in order to protect the innocent. For this to work they must be independent of the perpetrators of injustices. The SRA is not such an independent body and look where we are? They are protecting their own at the expense of the innocent victims they are set up to protect. How can this possibly work? We need an independent SRA that will pay compensation when due. As it is now to so many!

  9. I am an overseas investor. I never believed that things were so bad in the UK and that the legal profession simply can’t be trusted. I will never trust the UK legal system again – it stinks and there is no protection for solicitor clients, not even against fraud. The UK Government is lying to the public about the legal system being just and fair – it’s the most corrupt legal system I have ever experienced. Soon nobody will want to invest in the UK. If you can’t trust the solicitors regulator, how can you possibly trust the solicitors regulated by them ? The answer is that you simply can’t. Never invest anything in the UK!!!

  10. I want all who were party to this investment fraud, fired, fined. and imprisoned. And the government authorities to compensate all investors to 100% of their loss AND maybe these folks who did such a bad job of oversight to be fired, fined and imprisoned as well!

    1. I thought it was just me… ive been complaining sbout an allegedly bent solicitor, who i allege wilfully stitched me up,
      for months now. The sra, it seems, just dont want to know. Find this just extraordinary.

      1. I have found that the SRA totally ignore your complaint and turn a blind eye to evidence you have. They twist parts of any complaint to then dismiss the entire matter. And the complaint procenure is mainly internal so they dont actually review anything. And the final stage is a thrid party review by the CeDR but they can only look at the process and not the actual decision. So they dont check to look at how they have twisted the comlaint and ignored other parts. Its a legal scam effectively.

  11. Never in a month of Sundays did I think that an investment supposed to help those in Brazil, with the money invested held in UK Escrow accounts and therefore (supposedly it now appears) protected by the UK laws would be unsafe. The SRA is corrupt – they clearly run a protection racket for fraudulent solicitors. They bury evidence against them, fail to disclose it to tribunal and let criminal solicitors off the hook in order to to evade compensating victims. The SRA’s compensation fund – designed specifically to financially recompense victims of fraud (and the Ecohouse case was a proven Ponzi scheme) is completely duplicitous and not fit for purpose. There is clearly a huge amount of corruption in legal service regulation and we the public are NOT PROTECTED. The Ministry of Justice has also singluarly failed to take definitive action to resolve matters. Thank you so much to Colin Rimmer and Corruption UK for bringing it out into the open.

  12. I am an overseas investor. I never believed that things were so bad in the UK and that the legal profession simply can’t be trusted. I will never trust the UK legal system again – it stinks and there is no protection for solicitor clients, not even against fraud. The UK Government is lying to the public about the legal system being just and fair – it’s the most corrupt legal system I have ever experienced. Soon nobody will want to invest in the UK. If you can’t trust the solicitors regulator, how can you possibly trust the solicitors regulated by them ? The answer is that you simply can’t.

  13. First and foremost, Colin Rimmer deserves a HUGE thank you for representing the whole Ecohouse group of investors. He’s done an amazing job throughout the years to fight for justice and continues to do so brilliantly. Furthermore, I’d like to thank you for the Corruption UK organisation for fighting for citizens rights against corruption. The truth needs to go out.

    I originally believed that Ecohouse was going to do good for social housing in Brazil, but that was far from the truth. It was a ponzi scam and many people were at a loss. What they did was scam people’s good intention to invest in something that would originally help people. The original CEO is still roaming around scamming others and he’ll continue to do so if nothing is brought to justice!

  14. As a small investor in Ecohouse, I recall being originally attracted to the favourable returns whilst helping build properties in Brazil. The advert was featured in a Charity Finance magazine and was backed up with links to newspaper articles. Despite being slightly sceptical, I was reassured the scheme was being managed by a registered UK Solicitor, Sanders and Co, who were appointed to authorise staged transactions following receipt and confirmation of progress from Brazil. The involvement of a UK solicitor was my main reason for investing as I felt reassured in dealing with a regulated UK body. As anyone reading this thread will realise, the scheme was corrupt, the Solicitors complicit and the monies syphoned off. This is a clear breach of contract and regulator, SRA, appear to be turning a blind eye thus encouraging fraud and money laundering in the UK. This has to stop. Thanks to Colin Rimmer for spearheading the efforts to gain justice for those who invested – some with their hard earned life savings.

  15. “I too would like to express my utter disbelief that the SRA could so badly betray victims of a substantial fraud by trying to conceal the fraud in order to evade paying compensation, with the very undesirable side effect that fraudulent solicitors are free to continue practising and to cause more harm to their unsuspecting clients. Thank you to CorruptionUk for exposing this outrage.”

  16. I am a victim of the Ecohouse scam. Living on a meager retirement pension combined with artificial low interest, I was just trying to supplement my income. Being from an old school, I had full confidence in the UK justice system , the same system which was well renowned for legality and justice all over the world let me down.

  17. I was a Ecohouse scam victim. SRA did their best to avoid victims applying compensation scheme. It is a lie that SRA’s job is to regulate solicitors. SRA failed to protect victims before and after poor solicitors made unprofessional mistakes. As an overseas investor, I will discourage anyone who is interested to invest UK investment because there is no justice after scammers committed frauds. UK reputation continued downgrading if SRA did not face their own mistakes.

  18. The SRA is corrupt and should be held accountable!

    When investing in Ecohouse I never once thought I couldn’t trust the U.K. legal profession. I felt reassured especially as the escrow contract was underwritten by the SRA who were there to protect investors. How very wrong I was!

    I am absolutely appalled that despite this case being proven as a Ponzi fraud, the U.K. government have also chosen to protect the guilty parties instead of us the innocent victims. We have been hugely failed by all institutions involved – the scale of corruption is unbelievable.

    I add my confirmation to everything already said and thank Corruption U.K. for raising awareness of such a scandal. Huge thanks go to Colin Rimmer for his tireless and unceasing efforts to get justice for all those affected.

  19. It is so galling that after 5 years we as Ecohouse Victims have seen no compensation even as the case has been proven as a Ponzi fraud. The SRA, the police, the Government, the SDT, LSB and JSC have all failed us massively. It is an appalling miscarriage of justice that fraudulent solicitors have been allowed to get away with acts of blatant dishonesty that has destroyed the lives of thousands of innocent victims. The SRA is corrupt and conflicted and should be held to account.

  20. Thank you Colin A. Rimmer and Corruption UK for taking up the fight.

    I couldn’t agree more with all the comments posted by others regarding the SRA’s way of acting when it comes to the Ecohouse fraud affecting so many people.

    As an over seas investor I never believed that the legal profession simply cannot be trusted. In the UK, not a banana republic! Who will want to invest in such a country in the future if one can’t trust the solicitors regulator (!)? How can you possibly trust the solicitors regulated by them? The SRA shall be held accountable for its betrayal of those it should serve, the consumers. And what is the Government doing in this regard? Puts its head in the sand like an ostrich as if nothing had happened.

    What a shame!

  21. It will be me now who will get ‘done’, fined (hugely) and jailed for 20 years for saying that…………………….
    Gutless, hapless, useless cacophony of a justice system…….Jobs for the boys…HO HO HO!!

  22. I am an overseas investor (victim of Ecohouse fraud) and like many other investors, I will never consider any further investment in the UK after my horrible experience, which wiped out a good chunk of my savings. It has been a long and fruitless battle to get justice, which proved almost impossible due to the fact that the SRA, which is supposed to be protecting the investors has a completely opposite hidden agenda: to do whatever it takes to prevent fraud victims from getting any compensation, even if this meant protecting the fraudsters and obstructing justice!

  23. Like many other subscribers to the Ecohousing scheme and as well as making an investment, I believed I was doing something to help house people in Brazil getting them out of the slums that they are living in. But no, falling into yet another scam through nasty self obsessed people who think they are above the law who should know better. If we cannot trust lawyers or solicitors supposed to be looking after their clients there is no hope. Thanks to Colin for keeping up the pressure.

  24. This case is a salutary warning to any lay person who thinks that the SRA is there to offer them protection if they use a solicitor who subsequently goes off piste and breaks the SRA’s Rules. While the solicitor may receive a (gentle) rap on the knuckles from the SRA the client can expect nothing by way of compensation or redress. The SRA will use every trick in the book to get themselves off the hook and disclaim any liability.
    This not only damages the SRA’s (already tarnished) reputation further but also undermines the public’s confidence in solicitors.

    Don’t think the SRA is there to protect you if things go wrong!!

  25. The SRA need to step up and take action for the victims of EcoHouse, how they have treated all the investors is horrible and they have just swept us under the rug. It is appalling behaviour that they can get away with this act

  26. SRA was supposed to help Ecohouse investors when some solicitors tell lies and stole from investors. The solicitors did not behave independently, fairly and with integrity to serve the interest of their clients and the public interest. SRA should be held into account of what they have done in the past.

  27. I forgot to mention another weird evidence about SRA double standard toward victims and double standard towards fraudsters solicitors:
    The two director at Sanders and co at the time of Ecohouse fraud were Micheal John Davies and Clare Luise Taman. They have been charged with the same exact sentence at SDT. They had a suspension of three years. Same allegation same SRA principles breached. Same Charge. the three years suspension ended in 2019.
    But if you check the SRA register you will realize that Mr Davies is still prohibited to act as solicitor by SRA.

    Instead Ms Taman is only not practicing. But has no prohibition pending. So it seems that she is able to apply for a new practice certificate.

    It could be suspicious this double standard but it’s very easy to explain. Taman is the former husband surname. She is born Clare Luise Lapthorne. Daughter of the respectful Sir Richard Douglas Lapthorne. Now it’s clear why Michael Davis is prohibited and Clare Taman is not prohibited.
    The three years suspension (instead of the strike off) has another effect. The SDT verdict are published on SDT website until the end of the charge. So after three years of suspension the verdict is removed. The same happens on SRA solicitor register.
    So a potential client that search SRA and SDT website to check for a solicitor is prevented to find any negative information about Clare Taman.
    Is this fair and right for the customer protection? Is SRA and SDT really independent and transparent?

  28. I should like to add my name to the long list of victims registering their dismay and anger at the apparent collusion of the SRA as evidenced by their refusal to take any action whatsoever in the face of proven and incontrovertible evidence of fraud committed by Sanders and Co. It begs the question whether the SRA or some of its key members had a “vested interest” in some form or other. How else can their refusal to discharge their duty in the face of such blatant fraud and criminal behaviour be explained? Like many others no doubt I am a pensioner who invested all their savings in this apparent scheme because the escrow contract was underwritten by the SRA!

    1. My own view is that the SRA can’t make a finding of fraud because it would deplete the Compensation Fund, and massively increase solicitors’ yearly contributions. The same happened with the HSBC fraud I uncovered. HSBC, SRA & FCA working together to minimise losses.

      1. Exactly right Mr Wilson. The SRA did not allege dishonesty, let alone fraud – at one point two SRA officers stated that they did not dispute Sanders dishonestly towards Ecohouse clients, but then recanted 6 weeks later when the Met Police and Sanders insolvency practitioner wrote to them – very dubious! Total absence of probity, morality and integrity from the body that regulates ~180,000 solicitors. The SRA chose to conceal the criminality of fraudulent solicitors, backed by the MoJ, so that it could evade a significant compensation scheme.

        Despite admissions of money laundering from Charles Fraser Macnamara, and Paul Philip, the SRA CEO stating that Sanders solicitors had simply handed client funds to Ecohouse after taking their fees (admitting money laundering of client funds), Mr Philip refused 44 MPs requests for him to revisit justice against Sanders solicitors and grant an award from their compensation scheme.

        The Met Police were prevented from making arrests in Oct 2017 by the MoJ (it appears), despite invaluable evidence provided by PWC to the Met investigating officer who was swiftly railroaded off the case just as his work was coming to its crescendo .

        Sanders insolvency practitioner did not report misconduct either (despite a £33M misappropriation of client funds) – they did NOT even investigate the period when the fraud took place. The IPA has tried to dismiss a substantive complaint against the IP (more cover ups). Ecohouse Developments IP, PWC also refused to provide evidence to the creditors committee regarding their investigation into Sanders solicitors – PWC were reported to the ICAEW – still no result 3+ years later .

        All these duplicitous entities have happily engaged in covering up the fraud. The Press has been fed a pack of lies by the SRA – not a mention of Ponzi fraud anywhere ! The MoJ has to be behind the multiple cover-ups and the SRA’s decision to bury the case to conserve funds. We have come to expect nothing less of our dysfunctional and despicable Government.

        The SRA should be tackling the rampant misconduct in the solicitor profession and taking preventative measures to halt these frauds, but instead it gets solicitor criminals off the hook. Some 139 MPs are apparently powerless to impel the MoJ to tackle SRA corruption and deceit, always receiving the same disingenuous denials from Lord Keen (Gov Advocate), and Bob Neil, JSC Chair, denying that problems are systemic.

        The SRA is conflicted, unfit and untrustworthy – it should not be administering a compensation scheme – this is the root cause of the SRA’s deceit and duplicity, and it tempts the SRA down the treacherous road to destruction, whilst thoroughly undermining all public trust in the legal profession and its regulation.

        This colossal cover-up fiasco, with 90+ MPs ignoring every single request their constituents have ever made for assistance (Boris included), signifies cross party consensus to do absolutely nothing about it, maintain the status quo, and opt to protect all the crooked officials that engaged in concealing the fraud (or profiting from it) – no wonder Met Police arrests were halted and officials want to kick the whole sordid distaseful matter into the long grass – let me assure you – that simply won’t be accepted or tolerated by victims of the fraud.

  29. When I invested in Ecohouse I thought that my money was in hands of “good peoples”. UK is one of the top country in the financial world. After the huge fraud detection of the Ecohouse directors I was still confident in the UK justice to understand what happened, pursue and punish the fraudsters, recover as much as possible the missing funds and enforce the existing insurance.


    I’m very frustrated that in one of the most advanced democracy, there is still place for corrupted peoples and institution. How can you – the UK people – make this change ?
    Belgium has certainly not the best democracy, but I’ll never heard over such corruption by here.
    Morality: keep your Euro out of UK

    1. Yes, many of us, overseas investors thought the UK was one of the safest places to make a investment. Would you believe that i was asked to answer many questions to justify that the money i put in Ecohouse was not laundered money. This gave me more confidence to invest there. I think they wanted to get out of EU so that they can be free to become a tax and money laundering heaven; and avoid EU’s scrutiny.

  30. My name is Andrea Santini. I’m Italian (sorry for my english). I’ll no more invest even a penny in UK. I’m very happy about Brexit cause UK in now sinking into a deep crisis institutional. SRA, the MET, the Financial ombudsman, the Insolvency Sercice, FCA, HMRC. It seems that no one of these autorities is able to protect the clients (the citizens) from a fraud. In this moment there is a solicitor called Charles Valentine Fraser-Macnamara that wrote in 2018 an undertaking to the IS in which he confessed that voluntarily caused and perpetrated a fraud about £21M but the METin 2020 it still waiting to arrest him and all the solicitors at Sanders & Co (among the other Katherine Fraser-Macnamara that is the daughter of CFM )that made false representation to 849 client like me in order to aid the fraud. It’s now 4 years that I’m writing emails to Mr Paul Philip (SRA CEO) and it’s four years that I’m receiving misleading answer from him and his spokeperson. I read either false representation he made to the MPs that wrote him seeking information about the fraud. He told them that he wasn’t aware about any fresh news about Sanders&CO.-Ecohouse case but at the same time SRA was evaluting my lay application to SDT against Sanders & Co solicitors. Mr Paul Philip is a serial liar. SRA planned to boicot and hide Sanders case from the outset. SRA is in conflict of interest because has to judge if a solicitor is dishonest but at the same time SRA is in charge to reimbure the victims of a dishonest solicitor. In case Sanders solicitors are proved to be dishonest SRA should have to reimburse almost £21M to victims and the SRA compensation fund will bankrupt. So the only way to save the SRACF is to protect corrupted solicitor to the detriment of the victims.How SRA could be independent and impartial if the Compensaion fund is at risk? I can prove any statement I made in this comment. I’ll no more invest a penny in UK that is now becoming a no mans-land where there’s no rights and where the fraudsters are incentivated and motivated to commit frauds. It’s very sad that UK earned VAT around £4M (20% of £21M fraud). So UK government is very motivated to let fraud happen in UK, in order to improve the VAT earning in UK. Disgusting. I decided to invest in UK because on my admiration of UK as civil rights protection but know I think that UK is becoming like Panama or Bahamas or “Bananas”.
    Invest in UK has been a nightmare to me and I’ve lost the saveing of my life. SRA is not able to control the UK legal system and let fraudster solicitors steal £21M of clients money for two and a half years. SRA failed to detect the fraud, failed to close down Sanders & Co, failed to find dishonesty at Sanders & Co firm, failed to protect the clients filed to protect the trust the people have in the UK legal system.
    Andrea Santini

  31. As a victim of the Eco-House fraud I am just cannot understand why no-one has been held to account at Sanders and Co. The evidence is clear that Sanders and Co. paid out millions of pounds of investors money which was held in an escrow account without the neccessary supporting invoices, as stipulated in each investors contract.

    Sanders and Co. were simply allowed to liquidate and the directors kept their heads down in the knowledge that the SRA were unlikely to investigate effectively and even more unlikley to take any action. Both assumptions have been validated and the Directors are now free to practice law.

    To make matters worse the SRA have consistently refused to share documentation with the victims of the fraud. What are they hiding?

    Who does the SRA actually represent?. It would appear to me that its a government quango that does nothing except protect its own employees guaranteed annual salaries and pensions.

    Thank you Corruption UK and for the efforts Colin Rimmer for stopping this fraud from being kicked into to the long grass.

  32. Anyone who has had no personal experience of this mess must find this article and comments astonishing.It is hard to believe that British Justice can be so poor and so contrary to what we have all been brought up to believe. Sadly as a yet another victim to this I can only add my confirmation of everything that has been said.

  33. I fully endorse comments left regarding the SRA. They have been absolutely useless with regard to the Ecohouse fraud and no doubt others. In the first instance they didn’t detect the fraud for around 2.5 years. They ignored complaints which enabled the perpetrators to continue fleecing us. They would not admit that a fraud had been committed and therefore denied the opportunity for justice and redress. To top it all they obstructed a lay application against Sanders solicitors, who basically got away with the equivalent of slap on the wrist.

  34. Thank you to Colin Rimmer for writing this and to Corruption UK, for publicising the reality of the UK’s legal regulatory system. The public should know how the SRA have helped some of their dishonest members defraud 850 small investors of £33m through a proven Ponzi scheme. The SRA has never alleged dishonesty, despite monies having been released by their members on the basis of no or fraudulent documents and distributed internationally to accounts unconnected with the EcoHouse project. As a result of the SRA’s cover up, legal consumers should know these SRA members have enriched themselves and their unscrupulous clients to the tune of £33m and are still free to practice in the UK today !!

  35. There is not a lot I can add to what has been said. I am another Ecohouse victim, or should I say SRA victim?
    It is unbelievable that nobody takes any action. I have written to my MP, Liz Truss many times and been to see her but nothing happens and like most other MPs she just says there is nothing she can do and so she passes the buck.
    Our whole system is corrupt and the UK is as bad as any third world country.

  36. One half of me wants to forget about this disastrous experience and pretend it never happened, the other says we must continue to fight for honesty and justice until we succeed.
    We signed a separate Escrow contract with the solicitors of which we paid a fee for, this was supposed to provide added protection and was one of the main reasons I invested. Unfortunately, these solicitors turned out to be totally dishonest by breaching hundreds of legal contracts, releasing money when the agreed conditions were not met, operating a Ponzi scheme and an unauthorised banking facility. These actions committed by the solicitors are all SRA criteria for dishonesty, but to avoid financially compensating investors the SRA are refusing to concede and so are in themselves committing an act of injustice.
    The SRA have refused to re-visit this case despite now having clear evidence of fraud. Many MP’S have been contacted and requested to help our cause. Most have not bothered which is a concern, but (50) MP’s have requested the SRA to revisit our case. Still the SRA refuses, giving the appearance that they consider themselves a law unto themselves. If this organisation continues to fail to act responsibly, then the solicitor profession will only attract more criminality in an area where it’s likely to cause the most damage. How we handle this case and ones like it will result in our society either being a civilised or an uncivilised one. We must not let the law of the jungle win.

  37. It’s hard to know where to start when talking about the SRA’s abysmal failures but the Ecohouse fraud is indeed a sorry tale.
    There is no evidence that the SRA has been anything but obstructive and/or incompetent in its handling of what should have been a thorough investigation into the behaviour of one of its members and if not incompetent then what? Corrupt? How are we supposed to find out when the ‘Elite’ close ranks?
    Perhaps when Dominic Cummings has finished rearranging the civil service, we could ask him to take a look.
    Meanwhile, well done Colin Rimmer and more power to him.

  38. I am one of the victims of the Echo House fraud. It has been very stressful and difficult few years for me. Thanks Colin kept fighting for all of us to get justice. It would be great if goverment will step in to fight for us too. Let’s hope!

  39. My admiration and gratitude to Colin Rimmer for his unceasing and diligent pursuance of justice for all Eco House victims which has led to this article being published by Corruption UK whom I thank also.

    It is appalling to realise the hard fact that the SRA, the governing body with whom we place our trust for justice in, is as corrupt as those it promises to protect us from. The SRA’s role is to root out and bring fraudulent and corrupt members of our Legal system to justice. However, when handed this enormous and blatantly illegal case on a plate by Colin Rimmer, it chose to continue to protect the perpetrators of this crime. I no longer have faith in the legal system in this, a supposed civilised and world leading country, when the few voices in control willingly not only ignore, but cover up the crimes committed against the people it is honour bound to protect.

    I would also add that the local MPs who did not support their constituents in this ongoing battle for justice will still be expecting an ‘x’ in their box on polling day!

    There has been an avalanche of exposures over this past five month lockdown period and thanks to Colin and Corruption UK, the SRA have been added to that list. My gratitude and hopes for further action in exposing this cover up.

  40. It is abundantly clear that the SRA had the evidence to act with responsibility and probity to confront and deal with this serious act of fraud. Their failure and that of the Government to resolve this squalid business leaves me thinking that we live in a third world country. The SRA sits amongst the growing list of failing institutions that perhaps now mistakenly we uphold as a measure of a civilised society.

    1. I fully endorse comments left regarding the SRA. They have been absolutely useless with regard to the Ecohouse fraud and no doubt others. In the first instance they didn’t detect the fraud for around 2.5 years. They ignored complaints which enabled the perpetrators to continue fleecing us. They would not admit that a fraud had been committed and therefore denied the opportunity for justice and redress. To top it all they obstructed a lay application against Sanders solicitors, who basically got away with the equivalent of slap on the wrist.

  41. Here here! Well done to Colin Rimmer and Corruption UK for at last giving some well deserved traction in furthering the cause to highlight the EcoHouse case and the useless government agencies designed to protect the consumers.
    Lest not forget the banking facility used in the EcoHouse scam who I suggest are culpable in the fraud also.

  42. Well done Corruption UK and Colin Rimmer.

    So many ordinary people had their lives significantly impacted after placing their trust in Sanders to administer their investment which, if managed honestly and to the terms of their agreements, were legally sound investments.

    These were more than good faith arrangements. These were ‘legally’ binding agreements that were exploited because of the conscious decisions of a handful of individuals to distribute funds outside of the terms that they were employed to honor.

    With regards to the SRA, I’m at a complete loss, please help me to understand how your performance has been so poor, is it:
    A) Ignorance
    B) Lack of transparency (ethics)
    C) Lack of thoroughness (competence)
    D) All of the above

  43. About time too. Spent good time being assured that Sanders & Co were covered by legal insurance, so that provided comfort in the event of all going wrong abroad. What is worse is that not only did the lawyers act inappropriately, but that the very people set out to protect us, both the insurers and Solicitors and SRA acted in a way to undermine trust. Once this cornerstone is eroded, there is not much basis to do business in the UK. Thank you for bringing this to the attention of the public by publishing this. Thanks to Colin Rimmer for his tireless work here too. May MPs and others bring this to a conclusion.

  44. I am pleased to see some organisation finally come out and publish the truth about this scandal, thanks to Colin Rimmer for his perseverance in trying to get justice for the innocent victims in this.

    How can an organisation that is set up to regulate the legal industry and protect individuals that have been let down by lawyers who were complicit in a major fraud walk away from this is beyond my comprehension.

    People invested through Uk registered solicitors who broke the terms of the agreement. How can it be said it was not in the normal course of business is a feeble excuse to avoid any kind of settlement to those who have in some cases lost their life savings in a massive ponsi fraud with the help of UK regulated lawyers.

    It is time for this to be reviewed by government & the correct action taken

  45. What was the SRA set up for obviously jobs for the boys. I thought they were there to oust corrupt solicitors and compensate members of the general public who have lost life savings and livelihoods. Over the past ten years the SRA spent their time ducking an diving attaching no blame and not listening to people who have just claims even though it was clear that the Ecohouse Ponzi scheme was blatant fraud .
    I thank Corruption UK and Colin Rimmer for continuous pressure and pushing for an independent tribunal.

  46. I have been subjected to the dishonesty of the SRA, and stand behind Colin Rimmer and everyone else here, to obtain justice, and expose the villens.

  47. For most of my life, I thought that no one should be above the law. I thought that if those whose job it was to uphold the law broke it, the punishment should be especially severe. But that now seems to have changed, and it sets a dangerous precedent, which seems to be that when important national institutions fail to act in accordance with the law, and a heck of a lot of money is involved, they must be protected at all costs, without even having to explain their actions. Victims should not be compensated under these circumstances. So its ‘thumbs down’ to Magna Carta!

  48. I have been subjected to the dishonesty of the SRA, and stand behind Colin Rimmer and everyone else here, to obtain justice, and expose the villens.

  49. Keith Griffiths
    Thanks must go to Corruption UK for publishing this. Also, to Colin Rimmer for his endless hours of research & analysis on behalf of the many Ecohouse victims, putting together reams of evidence highlighting the deficiencies in the British legal system. He has raised many points which prove not only systemic regulatory failure, but also breach of the Legal Services Act 2007 because the SRA has failed to follow due process, failed to administer justice in accordance with their own rules, and failed to be accountable or transparent regarding its failings and its decisions.
    This saga has gone on for far too many years now without any real signs of justice or financial redress being realised. I personally have been severely affected by this fraud which the SRA has had plenty of time and opportunity to justifiably resolve but has failed me and all the other victims of solicitor failings.
    I feel cheated by the appropriate solicitors, SRA, MOJ & the Met Police, who have all given the impression of protecting others rather than myself. Also the lack of action by many MPs who were asked to support those that had elected them to represent them.
    It’s now time for the system to be put under the microscope and for action to be taken where appropriate to dismantle those services that are supposed to protect the “man on the street”, which on recent evidence have done quite the opposite.

    1. I totally agree. Thanks for publishing the article and thanks to Colin Rimmer for pursuing this.
      I want to live in a place where we can trust our legal profession. Unfortunately that does not seem to be the case.

  50. Thank you Corruption UK for publishing this and mostly thanks to Colin Rimmer who never gave up the 7 year battle and contribution to make this publication happen.
    Like many overseas investors, i thought the UK had very reliable and safe institutions that made it the safest places in the world to invest. How wrong i was. From the experience i lived, the UK certainly does not deserve its ranking as the first 10 least corrupt countries in the world. The institution who writes these kind of reports and surveys should seriously review their research and statements. The UK has become one of the most corrupt countries and a money laundering heaven.
    The first time i wrote to the SRA back in 2013 about a conflict of interest in this ponzi investment scheme, they answered and chocked me by saying that there was no wrong doing.
    From this bitter experience and like many other overseas investors, i will certainly never going to put a single penny in the UK again.

    1. Even after HSBC have paid out £30m for illegal charges added by 2 firms of solicitors the SRA could find no wrongdoing, even though they adjudicated in 2007 that one of the firms had breached the Solicitors Act for doing it!

  51. I would also like to thank Colin. Without his tenacity I think this case would be long forgotten just as the Law Society hopes would happen, It seems that promises are made to society that there is some kind of protection
    against rackateers that fleece people of their hard earned money. Especially in this case where the cause was one to help the homeless in poorer countries.
    We need some action to bring down these people and no more cover ups.

  52. Thank you so much Corruption UK for publishing the shameful practices of the SRA; how these ‘professional people’ sleep at night is beyond me. A large number of folk invested in Ecohouse in good faith, they have been blatantly conned, and have lost large sums of money as a result. The SRA had the opportunity to assist these hapless investors; however, they chose another, wholly undesirable path. They have done no more but add insult to injury.

  53. Thank you corruption UK and Colin for publicising this. The Ecohouse Scam has been ongoing for years , many Investors have lost their life savings and more in terms of their health and the very body that is supposed to Protect us , the SRA , is not fit for purpose and just protects its own. How can it not even admit there has been dishonesty , I will never get my head around , the only reason seeming to be , to protect their own funds of compensation.
    The SRA needs to taken to task , the more publicity this article can get , the better

    1. A corrupt Solicitors regulator? You couldn’t make it up. Almost 10 years and still no major investigation into this fraud where investors have lost their live savings and livelihoods.

  54. Many thanks to Corruption UK for publishing the Ecohouse story showing the blatant corruption that is prevalent in the SRA. The extremes to which these so called pillars of justice have stooped include condoning proven fraud and money laundering in order to avoid paying out legimate claims of the victims including myself. Despite the requests and protestations of the victims for years now, the SRA continue to refuse to bring adequate prosecutions against solicitors who contrived and perpetrated the Ecohouse fraud. For these solicitors not to have been struck off or prosecuted for fraud after all this time is simply astounding, as is the SRA’s refusal to offer a grant of compensation for clearly dishonest and unethical solicitor behaviour in accordance with their remit under the Legal Services Act 2007 to provide viable protection. Representations to successive Justice Ministers have been quickly rebuffed and requests for support to many MP’s have largely been ignored. This sort of extreme corruption in the corridors of power is, we are told, prevalent in many countries in the world and our Governments have been quick toexpose such practices whilst giving the impression they are not followed here. However, we Ecohouse victims know different and urgent action is now requried to stop them .

  55. Thank you to Corruption UK for raising this matter of national importance.

    I do not believe that we can condone the actions displayed by the authorities.
    The legal system relies on the integrity of those who run it and manage it to protect the individual.. The SRA/Law Society has shown through its actions that it cannot properly safeguard against all fraudulent actions but surely it must do a much better job for everyone to benefit. The system that enables the perpetrators of such acts who act illegally need to resolutely punished to the full extent allowed by the law.

    It is very important that every organisation should be honest and truthful – the SRA/Law Society is no exception. these bodies do not deserve your help or loyalty.

  56. I encourage you all to contact your MP again with a copy of the Corruption UK article, as I have done. MPs should be holding the Government to account for this appalling scandal that a regulatory body has failed, dismally, to safeguard the people it was set up to protect.
    Thank you Corruption UK for posting this article. Let’s hope that the national press pick up on it and also put pressure on this failing Government to do something.

    Dear Ms Daby,
    I wish to draw your attention to an article in Corruption UK regarding the Ecohouse Ponzi scheme. I would be grateful if you would respond to me to let me know what you and other like minded MPs are able to do to address the issue of the SRA not representing clients who have suffered at the hands of fraudulent solicitors. This has been going on for too long and it is time that you put pressure on the Government to do something about the SRA as a result of its failure to carry out its mandate.

    Regards, David Robins

  57. Well done Colin Rimmer for persevering against institutionalised bureaucracy and thank you to Corruption UK for publicising this £33m crime and miscarrage of justice. As if it’s not tragic enough to discover you have had your savings stolen by a ponzi fraud with the assistance of dishonest Solicitors. Then you discover the very people trusted to protect your intrests were aware of the fraud and not only failed to intervene, they actually took action to protect the corrupt Solicitors and their own interests, concealing evedence from tribunals and missleading enquires to prevent justice. The RSA are not fit for purpose, they clearly have no interests but their own, it appears they don’t care what is said about them because they believe they are protected and above the justice system.

  58. Colin Rimmer has been extremely diligent on this terrible SRA scam; this Quango Organisation isn’t fit for purpose and eventually there chequered History will be full exposed and criminal action will be undertaken; unless they quickly resolve the many cases highlighted (Ecohouse) been a major fraud

  59. Thank you Corruption uk for publishing Colin Rimmer’s article.
    I agree whole heartedly with Colin’s comments and would love to see the SRA exposed nationally for their disgraceful conduct

  60. Thank you Corruption UK for bringing this scandal to a wider audience.

    The British public will be shocked to see how the SRA, the  authority set up to regulate solicitors and lawyers, has acted in a corrupt and cynical manner to protect its own interests at the expense of 850 victims of a Ponzi scheme intended to defraud innocent investors.

    On its website the SRA states its principals as being “the fundamental tenets of ethical behaviour that we, the SRA, expect of those that we regulate”. It also states its code of conduct as being “the standards that we, the SRA, and the public expect of individuals (solicitors, registered European lawyers and registered foreign lawyers).”

    Something has gone seriously amiss and the buck has to stop at the top.

  61. The SRA is not fit for purpose

    Having personal experience of the inept and corrupt behaviour of the SRA, I am shocked that this body has been allowed to continue working for so long, continuing again and again to fail in its duty to uphold standards in the legal profession. I am aware that the SRA has failed to act against the most serious misconduct by some of their regulated members, have simply just ignored evidence (or worse, concealed evidence) about cases it has supposedly investigated, and the list goes on. The public which they are supposed to support have been failed again and again, which makes this body not fit for purpose. As a member of the medical profession, I am only too aware that we are carefully and rigorously assessed and policed and that is only right and proper, so that the public is duly protected. The SRA is supposed to carry out such a role in regulating the legal profession, but has frankly failed in its duty in this regard, not once, but again and again. If such a body is failing in its remit, it is by definition not fit for purpose and should itself be scrutinised and replaced by a body that is able to uphold the standards expected and to protect the public. Isn’t it about time that the SRA was put under the microscope and held to account for its perverse and inept regulation of the legal profession?

  62. As far as I can tell the SRA has no idea what “justice” means! Colin and others have been trying to make this known to the public so others don’t have to suffer like the victims of this scheme have done. Thank you Corruption UK for taking up the baton!

  63. The SRA has been an utter failure as far as I can tell, with no sense of justice whatsoever. Colin and others have been trying hard for years to make this known to the public. Thank you Corruption UK for taking up the baton!

  64. Thank you Corruption UK. This has been going on for several years and despite representation to many agencies and MPs absolutely nothing appears to have been done to right the injustice. The more publicity and exposure this shameful organisation receives the better

  65. It’s hard to believe that the regulation of solicitors by the SRA is so biased in favour of those who it is there to regulate and so corrupt in the way truths are distorted or simply ignored. Let’s remind ourselves that this is happening in the United Kingdom not a South American failed state! It might be said by government that now is not a good time to act, but this affair has been unfolding for the last 5 years – enough is enough.
    Two things need to happen, soon. Firstly the line of accountability for the SRA into government needs to be used to issue a “red card” to the SRA, in order to resolve this scandal quickly. Secondly, the future of the SRA itself should be reviewed in the light of its failure to deal fairly and transparently with this matter. Is the world a better place with or without the SRA?

  66. This (oh so belated) exposure of wrongdoing by an agency tasked with redressing wrongs is most welcome; and so, thank you.
    But this should be just the beginning – the match that lights the fire which will force the SRA to do the right thing.
    It should also be noted that the 850 or so UK victims of the EcoHouse scam are not the only victims. The EcoHouse scam has affected at least 2,000 people worldwide… It is gigantic.

  67. Sad to say, I am afraid this story is symptomatic of the UK. My own direct dealings with Colleges, Public Bodies, Local Government & Central Government is such that I have lost all faith in the ability to achieve any justice for anyone. We are completely riddled with corruption. We need a two fold attack of the problem – both from the top down (starting with Johnson & Cummings) and the bottom up.
    On its present trajectory, unless this starts immediately the UK as an entity is destined to become 4 separate nation states. This will inevitably result in conflict, will facilitate successive waves of Covid-19 and aid our enemies.

  68. Thank you Colin & Corruption UK for exposing this travesty of law/regulation allowing such a fraud to happen in the first place & the govt for sweeping it under the carpet and protecting the guilty.

  69. Thank you Corruption uk for posting this and Colin Rimmer for writing it. It has devistated so many lives including mine.

  70. Thank you to Corruption UK for exposing the amoral SRA et al, to a wider audience. The general public need to be aware that the very bodies (SRA, MoJ) put in place to protect them from fraudulent solicitors are totally broken and corrupt themselves!

    The SRA’s compensation fund which is designed specifically to financially recompense victims of fraud (and the Ecohouse case was a proven Ponzi scheme) is completely duplicitous and not fit for purpose. They have consistently and deliberately failed to allege dishonesty against the solicitors involved in this elaborate and highly planned/organized fraud, in order to avoid rightful pay out to the 850 investors from their aforementioned fund.

    As a result of the SRA’s cover up, not only have the numerous victims of the Ecohouse fraud suffered both financial and psychological trauma, but many of the overseas investors now regard the British legal system as a complete laughing stock. They are not wrong.

    If the SRA are allowed to get away with their dereliction of duty to the public in order to save their OWN monetary funds, the whole idea of British justice is broken.

    1. Yes, we’ll done Corruption UK, for publicising the reality of the UK’s legal regulatory system. The public should know how the SRA have helped some of their dishonest members defraud 850 small investors of £33m through a proven Ponzi scheme. The SRA has never alleged dishonesty, despite monies having been released by their members on the basis of no or fraudulent documents and distributed internationally to accounts unconnected with the EcoHouse project. As a result of the SRA’s cover up, legal consumers should know these SRA members have enriched themselves and their unscrupulous clients to the tune of £33m and are still free to practice in the UK today !!

    2. “I agree with all the comments posted by other people in relation to the farcical justice that the SRA brought in this case – suspensions that have run their course, but victims left to suffer the effects of devastating loss well into the future because the SRA is too crooked to compensate them.
      Looking for compensation for my losses. And corrupt puppets of the UK to be imprisoned!!

  71. This sad story needs to be front page news in the national papers. It is a story of a massive fraud aided by ‘regulated’ lawyers and a Lloyds Bank Escrow account.

    Neither the SRA nor Lloyds accept any responsibility for the criminal actions of certain people. Shame on them!

    Meanwhile Action Fraud has given ‘one’ overworked PC the job of tracking down the £millions, involving: Brazil, Italy, Canada Singapore and the UK. Not in my lifetime methinks.

    Finally the betrayal of certain lazy MPs unwilling to even sign a letter demanding action. Perhaps they would if one of the victims was a Russuan oligarch!

    1. It is unbelievable that the Solicitors complicit in the Ecohouse Ponzi Scheme fraud are now able to practice again after a very brief suspension. It is even more unbelievable that the SRA are allowed to ignore the evidence gathered by another Government body which proves money laundering and fraud in order to avoid a claim on their compendation fund. My MP Richard Bacon is one of the 95 MPs that have failed to provide any help to constituents in holding the SRA to account. A tiny branch of Lloyds Bank in Stourbridge managed to transfer more than £25 million to overseas bank accounts without any questions about money laundering or client identity, no questions asked. Thank you Corruption UK and Colin Rimmer for highlighting these egregious transactions. It is time for them to be re-investigated by an independent tribunal.

      1. It is well known that uk is corrupted , but the Torry government will NEVER do anything about it.

        We tried to vote for Jeremy Corbyn but the corrupt establishment kicked him out illegitimately from the Government , now the new labour leader is a puppet of the Conservatives with Boris Johnson an image of Donland Trump both destroying democracy world wide.

        P. S : Boris Johnson was born in the USA a New Yorker , he should never be allowed to be a UK prime minister.

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