By DebbieH 10 Dec 2018 7 min read

Police probe in to lawyer after client claims he handed over £80k savings for bogus court action

A rogue lawyer banned from every Scottish court has been reported to police regarding claims he conned a client out of £80,000 of his life savings.


According to The Daily Record, Adam McNeil accused bankrupt solicitor Paul Garrett of tricking him in to handing over envelopes of cash as legal payments for a bogus court action.


The 56-year old panel beater and painter hired Garrett to sue a former girlfriend.


He discovered the Scottish Court and Tribunal Service had no record of any case being raised on his behalf.


Police have now launched an investigation of fraud following the claims


Adam, who lives in Gleneagles, Perthshire, hired Garrett in late 2016 to sue his ex after he loaned her money for her business.


He said: ““I’m very angry. I was never in court for the cases and never questioned. I’d ask if he needed me there but he always said it wasn’t necessary.


“Garrett was my lawyer and I trusted him. I had no reason to doubt what he told me. But he would say, ‘Do not tell people how much you are giving me.’


“It was my life savings – I’m now penniless. I’m also having to work hard to repay the cash I borrowed.


Last year, Garrett was banned from every law court in Scotland last year.


The Law Society of Scotland received complaints he was representing clients in criminal trials despite the fact that his certificate to practise had expired.


Every sherriff, procurator fiscal and court official in Scotland was instructed not to allow Garrett to appear.


Adam says Garrett, of Finnieston, Glasgow, met him at his home, workplace or service stations to collect cash between December 2016 and the end of 2017 – without providing any receipts.


He was first asked for £4,000 for legal costs, followed by £22,000 worth of payments.


Adam says Garrett told him they had won their case, but he required more funds as his former girlfriend was appealing. The money was supposedly to pay for a QC and legal expenses.


Adam claims he handed over a further £26,000 before running out of money. But when Garrett asked for more cash, he borrowed £26,000 from family and friends to pay the fee.


Adam says Garrett then told him his ex’s appeal had failed and she was to reimburse his £79,000 and pay the £12,000 she allegedly owed.


It is claimed Garrett collected a final £4,000 to cover further legal costs, which Adam also borrowed.


Adam was later informed by a clerk at Glasgow Sheriff Court that there was no record of his case at any court in Scotland, when he called in April.


Garrett, 45, was made bankrupt in August 2016 over a £30,000 debt. In October, he was fined £1,000 for representing people despite his certificate had expired.


Police Scotland said: “We have received a complaint of fraud and inquiries are ongoing.”