Alerts

Warning: Financing documents misusing the name Brownstone Law Limited

4 July 2019

Documents related to a commercial financing arrangement that falsely refer to Brownstone Law Limited as the Escrow Agent.

What is the scam?

The SRA understands that a company had entered into a supposed Deed of Arrangement with a finance company (under which a very large bank guarantee was purportedly to be provided).

From the documents seen by the SRA, we understand that as part of the arrangement a €200,000 deposit was requested to be paid to an Escrow Agent within 24 hours.

The Escrow Agreement and “Corporate Refund Undertaking Letter”, as provided to the company being requested to pay the deposit, misuse the name and address of Brownstone Law Limited and the name of Mr John Bechelet - in falsely claiming that “Brownstone Law Limited” is the Escrow Agent who is to receive the deposit money (see below in relation to the genuine firm and solicitor). Supposed bank account details are also provided for payment of the deposit.

The documents seen by the SRA provide claimed telephone / fax contact numbers for “Brownstone Law Limited” of 020 8202 6955 and 7399 385096 as well as an email address of “johnfrancisbechel.bll@consultant.com”.

Any business or transaction using the email address or telephone numbers referred to above, is not undertaken by a solicitor or firm of solicitors regulated by the SRA.

Is there a genuine firm or person?

The SRA authorises and regulates a genuine firm called Brownstone Law Limited (SRA ID: 267576), whose address is 24 Cornhill, London, EC3V 3ND.

The SRA also authorises and regulates a genuine solicitor called Mr John Bechelet (SRA ID: 126084), who is the sole solicitor currently of Brownstone Law Limited and whose genuine email address is: jbechelet@bivonas.com

The genuine Brownstone Law Limited and Mr John Bechelet have confirmed that they have no connection to the documents referred to in the above alert.

What should I do?

When a firm's or individual's identity has been copied exactly (or cloned), due diligence is necessary. If you receive correspondence claiming to be from the above firm(s) or individual(s), or information of a similar nature to that described, you should conduct your own due diligence by checking the authenticity of the correspondence by contacting the law firm directly by reliable and established means. You can contact the SRA to find out if individuals or firms are regulated and authorised by the SRA and verify an individual's or firm's practising details. Other verification methods, such as checking public records (e.g. telephone directories and company records) may be required in other circumstances.