The Law Society of the Northern Provinces (LSNP) last week filed a damning forensic audit report in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) following a recent intensive investigation into the business practices of personal injury law firm Ronald Bobroff & Partners (RBP). According to award-winning investigative journalist Tony Beamish in a report on the Moneyweb site, the affidavit and report – by two chartered accountants – form part of on-going litigation, in which road accident victim Matthew Graham and his wife Jennifer allege RBP overcharged them and in which they have been asking for an accounting from the Bobroffs for almost five years. The affidavit alleges that, ‘the Bobroffs’ trust banking account lost its identity’ and the report concludes by saying that RBP ‘does pose a risk to trust creditors of the firm’. Beamish says the affidavit and the 136-page report detail extensive breaches of the Attorneys Act and rules by RBP and its directors, as well as the massive overcharging of road accident and medical negligence victims, false booking keeping entries, theft of client funds, tax evasion and VAT fraud. Ronald Bobroff and his son, Darren, are named in the report as is director Stephen Bezuidenhout.
The Moneyweb report runs an extensive list of key findings, among them that the Bobroffs employed various tactics to unlawfully reduce (their) income tax and VAT liabilities; that they failed to ensure trust monies were kept separate from other monies; and that the Bobroffs ‘made themselves guilty of unprofessional, dishonourable or unworthy conduct by overreaching clients.’ The Bobroffs claim that a vendetta is being waged against them and have laid blame at the feet of others, including their former bookkeeper, Bernadine van Wyk, who, in 2012, deposed what is termed an ‘explosive affidavit’ detailing wrongdoing by the Bobroffs and RBP. Ronald Bobroff told the LSNP auditors that it was Van Wyk who told him to hide their own money in the firm’s trust account. In every client file scrutinised by the auditors, overcharging by RBP was revealed, says Moneyweb. The report says that the Bobroffs had entered into multiple fee agreements with clients. The Grahams attorney, George van Niekerk, reportedly told Moneyweb: ‘We are vindicated at last by the findings of the inspectors into the Bobroff practice. It shows that the Bobroffs are not fit to practice and should be struck from the Roll of Attorneys.’ The Attorneys Fidelity Fund said it was monitoring developments in the Bobroff matter and taking legal advice. The Bobroffs had not commented at the time of publication. The matter will be argued in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) from 14 to 16 March.
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