Mr and Mrs Lyons admitted three offences of fraud and his wife admitted two offences of fraud, five of forgery and one of evading VAT. Don Ramble appeared for the prosecution. The case was in front of Judge Williams at Maidstone Crown Court.  

The couple are due to be sentenced this Friday, 23 February 2018.

The pair acted as a team who ran Orchards Property Services in Herne Bay in Kent.  Mr Lyons was struck off as a solicitors in September 2016 and despite not being qualified as an estate agent, he ran the business, alongside his wife.

Don Ramble said Mr Lyons acted as the conveyancing solicitor for the vendor, the buyer or both, while his wife valued and purported to market the properties. Kelly Lyons was also employed as a conveyancing executive and completions clerk by her husband, despite not being licensed in conveyancing.

The pair would run the sale and purchase of a property and would inform the seller of the purchase price. However, it was discovered that in relation to several transactions, Mr and Mrs Lyons were telling the seller that the house had achieved a lower offer than it actually had and they were pocketing the remaining monies.

“At no time was the vendor or the purchaser informed that Michael Lyons was acting for both parties, which was a clear conflict of interest.”

Mrs Lyons also evaded VAT on around 30 properties, when the couple were not registered with HMRC for VAT.

Judge Adele Williams commented on the couple's offending:

“It is the whole dishonesty and fraudulent nature of the transaction. The monetary value is of lesser significance.”

The sentencing of the couple has been adjourned to this Friday, 23 February, with a proceeds of crime hearing to be heard in June 2018.

The majority of Don Ramble's practice has involved prosecuting serious and organised crime and substantial fraud. He regularly prosecutes lengthy, complex, multi-defendant cases for the South East Complex Casework Unit and has also established himself as an expert on disclosure issues.