Struck-off solicitor imprisoned for one year

On 31 January 2017 Jeffrey Peter Lygoe, a struck-off solicitor who was made bankrupt on 28 May 2012 following a petition presented by The Law Society for outstanding liabilities, was sentenced to 12 months’ immediate imprisonment. This followed his pleading guilty under S357 of the Insolvency Act 1986 to the fraudulent disposal of property.

Stephen Hunt, Trustee of Mr. Lygoe’s estate and Partner at Griffins, assisted the Insolvency Service with their initial investigation and the full criminal investigation and prosecution by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The nature of the offence was that prior to his bankruptcy, Mr Lygoe had sold a freehold property he had an interest in with his share of the proceeds not having been utilised to satisfy a number of judgments and restrictions secured against the property. Instead he had inappropriately diverted these monies to a connected company under the control of Mr Lygoe’s wife and son thereby placing the funds out of reach of his creditors.

In May 2013 Stephen Hunt had previously applied for and obtained from Cambridge County Court a suspension of Mr Lygoe’s discharge from bankruptcy for a period of nearly 10 years. This related to Mr Lygoe having supplied false and/or incomplete information to the trustee; having taken steps to place assets beyond the reach of his creditors; and having conducted himself in such a manner as to deliberately frustrate the trustee’s investigations.

Mr Lygoe is also subject to a bankruptcy restriction order (BRO) which commenced on 17 January 2014. The court can impose a BRO where it considers the conduct of a bankrupt has been sufficiently dishonest or blameworthy. The effect of a BRO is to impose certain restrictions on a bankrupt such as not being able to act as a director of a company and being required to disclose their status to a credit provider if they wish to get credit of more than £500.

Mr Hunt commented: “The successful criminal conviction and previous action taken against Mr Lygoe sends a very clear message of what will happen to bankrupts who dishonestly dispose of assets and frustrate the bankruptcy process.   I am continuing my investigations into the assets of Mr Lygoe and am taking steps to recover them for the benefit of creditors.”