Does solicitor have a duty to report insurance fraud if I tell her?

(10 Posts)
HappyDay5 Thu 07-Jul-16 11:06:15

Quick question in case I accidentally drop my STBX in it... I'm in the middle of a divorce and we're between nisi and absolute. My ex is a compulsive spender and I was financially abused by him throughout our 10 years together. Just before I left with the children, he'd made a fraudulent insurance claim on his watch and received £5k. I was not named on anything and did not benefit from this financially (he went on to spend it on a holiday abroad with a new date, a games console, a new amp etc and did not attempt to pay off any debt).

He's now fighting to have our house sold and wants me and the children to return to rented accommodation (everything is in his name - don't ask) and wants all of the equity - £45-50k to pay off his debts. I moved back in with the children when it became apparent the house was mostly vacant while he stays with his girlfriend.

My solicitor has asked me to list examples of his financial misconduct so that we can put a proposal to his solicitor (buying a £20k car without telling me etc) and aim to settle out of court. I want to emphasise his reckless spending behaviour in the hope his own solicitor will realise the equity will not be used wisely and we'll be out on our ear. My question is, if I put this in the list, will my or his solicitor be bound to report this to the police? I don't want to see my ex in prison for his idiocy, let alone do that to our children. This will also have a massive impact on our already stretched budget if he's no longer earning. However, I would like advice on how to 'suggest' he did this. Morally, I feel like I shouldn't mention it but then at what cost? The children and I could lose our home to protect him. A few close friends have said 'you only have one bullet in your gun, if you're gonna fire it, use it for something big'. I suppose this would be it.

Is it possible his solicitor has arranged payment from the equity? I honestly can't see how he can afford this person as he's the managing partner in his own law firm.

My solicitor has advised that if we go to court to fight this, it'll cost between £10-25k and even then the judge may still award him a portion of the equity because of his own debt. Any advice?

Ifailed Thu 07-Jul-16 11:49:42

I'd tell the solicitor, and remind them that at the time you were too scared to report it, it's all part of the facts surrounding the breakdown of the marriage.

As I understand it, if a solicitor knows someone is planning on committing a criminal act, they must report it, otherwise they are under no more obligation than anyone else to report something has has already been done. Maybe ask in the Law section?

HappyDay5 Thu 07-Jul-16 12:03:56

Thanks, I've already posted there but not had any response so far. I read an article last night that said solicitors may soon face charges if they don't report this, as well as fraudulent accident claims etc. Perhaps it would only apply if HE told his own solicitor rather than me telling mine to tell his to tell him! Reluctant to ask my own solicitor as it'll cost £75😧

Greyponcho Thu 07-Jul-16 12:38:26

If it were me, I'd be tempted to drop him in it from a great height - something like that - fraud - it's the kind of thing you know is fraud, you know it's wrong and what the risks are when you do it. It's not as if he did it for the right reasons, say to pay for something essential and urgent - he pissed frittered it away on utter rubbish with no consideration of you or your DC.
He needs to be held account for his actions - the fraud. If this gives weight to your argument about how he's financially abused you (& your DC although indirectly/not as obviously perhaps) and gives you a better chance of keeping a roof over your DCs heads, then use it!

HappyDay5 Thu 07-Jul-16 12:42:44

Gulp. Think I still have residual control issues Greyponcho and standing up for myself doesn't come as easily as I thought - yet. I think it's fairly serious... maybe 3-5 years in prison if it's proven. I know he'd do it to me in a heartbeat but thankfully, I'm not him.

Ifailed Thu 07-Jul-16 12:46:21

I doubt if he'd get 3-5 years. However, he would be expected to pay back the money, so it would reduce the divorce settlement pot.

Greyponcho Thu 07-Jul-16 12:48:02

at the very least, had he spent £5k on a watch in the first place (or was it a gift?) - no-one needs a watch costing that much.
If it was a gift, he could've sold it to pay off some debts (unless it was an heirloom/inheritance).
Suppose it depends on your faith in justice - that it will be lenient on him if you do say something, or willbe lenient on you when they don't make you sell your home and give the proceedings to him to pay off his debt so he's free to go and rack up some more...

McT123 Thu 07-Jul-16 13:08:18

It sounds as if the fact that he squandered the £5,000 would be an excellent example of financial misconduct whether the money came from a genuine insurance claim or not. I wouldn't mention the fraud.

listsandbudgets Thu 07-Jul-16 14:19:12

Quite frankly OP I think that you should report him. If the insurance company find out some other way and it becomes clear that you knew about it you could end up being charged as an accessory to the fraud which is not what you need. Also why should the rest of us pay increased premiums to subsidise fraudsters like your stb ex? He deserves everything he gets IMHO

HappyDay5 Thu 07-Jul-16 14:46:30

He bought the watch before we met for around £2,500 Greyponcho and it increased in value over the years. He had planned on leaving it to our son one day. He looked into selling it ages ago but a slight dent reduced it's value below £3k so clearly the insurance job was the way to go!

Apparently insurance fraud of this size is taken VERY seriously as it's so easy to do. The strict punishments are used as a deterrent. He clearly didn't do his homework or didn't care. I was worried I might be drawn into it but it seems a spouse is fairly protected from giving evidence and particularly as I didn't benefit financially.

McT123 I agree that the disposal of the £5k is a good example of financial misconduct. I've emailed my solicitor and have written that he reported his watch lost and made a claim. I then went on to describe the subsequent spending. Let them make if it what they will. He knows I know so hopefully, this will be enough to at least to enter this item into a discussion with his solicitor - all while he's still wearing the bloody thing!

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