Warning: Documents misusing the name of Leonard Jacobs

10 May 2019

A supposed "High Court" document and fake Practicing Certificate have been produced, which misuse the name of Leonard Jacobs.

What is the scam?

The SRA has seen copies of a supposed "High Court of Justice document, which misuses the name of a genuine solicitor (Leonard Jacobs - see below).

The purported "High Court" document is headed "Legal acknowledgment of inheritance / insurance claim proceedings" and claims that a genuine solicitor (see below) is a "representing lawyer" in relation to a supposed claim on an insurance policy / estate (see also the linked scam alert).

A copy of a fake Practicing Certificate has also been provided, supposedly for the genuine solicitor. The SRA understands this was provided in apparent support of the other documentation. However, among some other errors the fake certificate seen by the SRA provides a commencement date of 15 November 1993 (with a replacement date in 2021) and provides an incorrect SRA ID of 44055 for the individual solicitor.

The SRA does not authorise or regulate any individual solicitor with the SRA ID 44055 (but see below).

Is there a genuine firm or person?

The SRA does authorise and regulate a genuine solicitor with the name Leonard Jacobs whose SRA ID is 99683.

The SRA also authorises and regulates a genuine firm called Redfern & Co, whose SRA ID is 44055.

The genuine Leonard Jacobs and Redfern & Co have confirmed 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.

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