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Fake barrister listed on genuine chambers website is jailed for defrauding terminally ill woman out of £92,000

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He falsely claimed to have a law degree from the University of London

Michael Cremin

A fake barrister whose credentials appeared on a genuine chambers website has been jailed for eight years after conning a terminally ill woman out of her life savings.

Sandra Burch first approached Michael Cremin for legal advice in relation to a real estate deal. Given just 18 months to live following a diagnosis of cancer, the 51-year-old wanted to find a more comfortable property.

Under his barrister guise, Cremin — who had some legal experience having worked on cases as a “paralegal”, according to police — said he could use her £92,000 savings to complete the purchase on her behalf. However the bogus barrister kept the money for himself.

Cremin, 41, also duped several other unsuspecting members of the public and used the cash to fund a fleet of 14 cars worth £330,000. He was jailed for eight years at Bristol Crown Court this week after being convicted of six counts of fraud and one of pretending to be a barrister.

Michael Cremin’s profile on Cotswold Barristers website recovered from the Google cache

Incredibly, his qualifications — which included a law degree from the University of London — appeared to be the real deal as he was listed as a “lawyer/advocate” on the website of a genuine chambers in Cheltenham (pictured above). A spokesperson from the Gloucestershire Constabulary told Legal Cheek:

Cremin featured on the Cotswold Barristers website but has now been taken off. His profile on the website claimed he had a law degree from the University of London but he didn’t.

Cotswold Barristers’ website says it covers areas of law including commercial litigation, property and fraud on a direct access basis. A spokesperson for the set told us:

Cotswold Barristers wish to make it clear that Cremin was never presented as a barrister by this practice. We co-operated fully with the police investigation, and gave evidence for the prosecution in the trial which led to his convictions. Sandra Burch was never a client of this practice, nor did she pay any fees or client funds to this practice. Barristers never handle client money.

The conviction for impersonating a barrister was not related to Cremin’s name appearing on Cotswold’s website.

Commenting on the unusual case, Detective Sergeant Dave Fryatt of Gloucestershire Police, said: “Cremin was what you might call a ‘paralegal’ — he wasn’t a barrister or solicitor but had taught himself a lot about the law and was involved in the legal system. Continuing, he said:

The problem is he over-egged his position and introduced letters after his name suggesting he was a doctor of law. He then never sought to correct anyone who believed he was a genuine solicitor or barrister.

The Bar Standards Board declined to comment on the case.

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20 Comments

Anonymous

Mark Jales rides again.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Grayson prefers being ridden.

(2)(0)

The Rt Hon The Lord Doctor Harley-Blacker of Gallifray OBE, BSc, GCSE, PhKd etc etc

I TOLD YOU I WOULD BE BACK!!!!!!!

(1)(0)

Lord Michael Cremin of Harley of Counsel 4th grade (highest)

I told you I’d be back.
I just took my glasses off and had a hair cut.
I shall be appealing.

(16)(0)

Sue r Pipe

Hahaha you’re so funny, try getting a life tosser

(0)(18)

Anonymous

Alan Blacker is back.

(7)(0)

Wankington Bear

Alan Blacker is a complete wanker.

(10)(0)

Anonymous

I don’t quite understand how he got onto the Chambers website in the first place? Surely it can’t be as simple as sending in a sample list of qualifications and a decent headshot?

If so, I’m off to buy a wig and robe for my cat.

(33)(0)

Anonymous

Not quite. Send us your billing as well. Anything half decent will get you in

(4)(0)

Anonymous

How was he on the chamber’s webpage?

(6)(0)

Anonymous

as ‘lawyer & advocate’, neither of which are terms titles in the UK.

(1)(0)

A barrister

Sounds fishy. They haven’t explained why he was on their website. And this quote is strange: “Sandra Burch was never a client of this practice”. What practice? Barristers are self-employed; each has his/her own practice.

(12)(1)

Anonymous

It’s not exactly chambers like Doughty Street are chambers. It’s very much a legal services company that has direct access barristers, mediators and legal investigators.

1 person, (Ms Carla Jayne Morris-Papps) owns 75% of the enterprise

https://www.cotswoldbarristers.co.uk/~carla-morris-papps-chief-executive

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Doesn’t look like he was there for long:

https://web.archive.org/web/20151109035854/http://www.cotswoldbarristers.co.uk:80/our-team

https://web.archive.org/web/20160307135130/http://www.cotswoldbarristers.co.uk/our-team

There in Nov 2015, already gone in at the latest March 2016. Sadly there is no archive of his profile so I can’t see what he was doing in chambers.

(1)(0)

Trump

There are many qualified barristers that are fake…

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Eight years is not enough. He had committed the most dangerous crime of defrauding the public.
Chambers are fully responsible for his actions.
BUT FOR the Chambers ‘ website showing him as a Lawyer and Advocate , he would not had any credibility. His Credibility was supported by the Chambers. Public only beleived him because he was on Chambers ‘ website.

(7)(3)

Grammar police

What an idiot.

(1)(2)

No thanks

I agree, Chambers must take some responsibility here. Ok, so they cooperated and gave evidence on the prosecution’s behalf, but after the damage was done. Where was their due diligence beforehand. They knew, or ought to have known, that members of the public would view their website and would assume, with his name being on the website, that he was an authorised barrister.

Get your professional indemnity insurers on notice I say!

(2)(0)

Sandra Burch

Love your comments, wished it was that easy with Cotswold’s

(0)(0)

Sandra Burch

This was the case, I thought he was genuine but he had a criminal record and no qualifications

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.