Professional Liability
New Imposter Fraud Decision

Judgment has been handed down by he High Court in the latest “imposter fraud” professional liability claim – and the claim was dismissed. See P&P Properties -v-OWC and Crownvent [2016] EWHC Civ 2276 (Ch).

The fraudster impersonated the true owner of an investment property in West London and instructed solicitors (D1) and reputable estate agents (D2) to sell it for him. They were duped as he had got hold of utility bills for the address and he provided a forged passport to identify himself, but asked for the sale proceeds to be sent to his bank in Dubai, from where it was never recovered. The innocent purchaser alleged breach of warranty of authority and negligence against both defendants and breach of trust against the solicitors.

The claim has been dismissed – but with permission to appeal given the interesting points which these cases throw up. These cases of imposter fraud, with a range of different and sometimes ingenious permutations, are continuing to trouble PI insurers.

Ivor Collett appeared for the Second Defendant, instructed by Mills and Reeve LLP.

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