Nathan Iyer, a former city solicitor, was sentenced to four years and eight months imprisonment for fraud on 7th February*. Mr Iyer, who had been described (possibly by himself) as “a high-profile and successful City lawyer, with a history of celebrity girlfriends” had pleaded guilty to false accounting and forgery.
The details are not entirely clear, but can be gleaned from the record of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal where Mr Iyer’s was struck off. In essence, he “created invoices for services which he had not performed or for expenses and/or disbursements which had not been incurred, thereby fraudulently misappropriating money“. These related to fictitious companies that he had set up for this purpose. The total loss was £2,812,700.31. The tribunal described Mr Iyer’s conduct as “was in fact as bad a case of fraud as this Tribunal had seen” and it is likely that the Crown Court Judge would have taken the same view.
There are sentencing guidelines both for theft and for fraud that would apply to this case. In either case, it is an offence of the highest seriousness due to the high value and the very high degree of trust placed in a solicitor. For that reason, it is probably one of those cases that goes outside of the guidelines. Using the Fraud guidelines as an ‘anchor’, the starting point would appear to be in the region of six to seven years, which, after a discount for a plea of guilty would give a sentence of four to five years – which was passed in this case. There is unlikely to be an appeal.
Normally, financial consequences (including confiscation proceedings) would follow in this case. Mr Iyer’s is, however, bankrupt. For that reason, it is unlikely that any proceedings would be contentious.
During the period of the faud, Mr Iyer’s managed to write two books : Domino Run and The Betrayed (insert your own joke here if you please). Both feature lawyers, as the protagonist heros, who are dragged into a world of crime before (presumably) triumphing. Life not quite imitating art. Both books are still in print, but, due to the bankruptcy and criminal proceedings, it is likely that any royalties earned will not go to Mr Iyer. Assuming that he has been on bail throughout the proceedings, he will have at most two years and four months to work on his third novel.
*Edit – Originally we put the date of 8th February instead of the 7th.