At­tor­ney struck off roll for trust fund theft


A WELL KNOWN Dur­ban at­tor­ney was struck off the roll of at­tor­neys and con­veyancers af­ter he was found to have been steal­ing money from his clients.

Kr­ish­nan “Vin­cent” Mood­ley had been a prac­tis­ing at­tor­ney for al­most three decades and a con­veyancer for the past nine years un­til his name was struck off the roll in the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg High Court last Mon­day.

The ap­pli­ca­tion had been made by the KwaZulu- Natal Law So­ci­ety fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the in­spec­tion com­mit­tee into a com­plaint from a cou­ple.

Amod Sadek Ka­reem and his wife, Sar­dia Bibi, had com­plained about the man­ner in which Mood­ley had han­dled a con­veyanc­ing trans­ac­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the judg­ment, Mood­ley had been in­structed to at­tend to the con­veyanc­ing when the cou­ple had sold their prop­erty for R1 020 000. He had failed to pay the net pro­ceeds af­ter the trans­fer of own­er­ship of that prop­erty into the name of the pur­chaser who was reg­is­tered with the Deeds Reg­istry on Jan­uary 30, 2017.

“The first re­spon­dent (Mood­ley), how­ever, failed to pay the pur­chase price upon trans­fer and only paid R300 000 on Fe­bru­ary 10, 2017, and R671 210 on July 7, 2017.

“At the time the com­plaint was made, the Ka­reems still had not re­ceived their full pur­chase price.

“The first re­spon­dent also did not de­posit the money into an in­ter­est bear­ing ac­count,” it read.

How­ever, Mood­ley’s ver­sion was that he in­tended to ob­tain a loan from a Caro­line Chetty for R500 000.

“Con­fi­dent that this loan would be ad­vanced to him he used the cou­ple’s money that was in his trust ac­count. Con­trary to his ex­pec­ta­tion the loan from Chetty did not ma­te­ri­alise.”

Ac­cord­ing to the pa­pers, it was also found that Mood­ley had used his trust ac­count to pay school fees for his chil­dren, and R36 063 was also trans­ferred from trust mon­eys to pay staff salaries.

“The in­spec­tion com­mit­tee iden­ti­fied three trust ac­counts which clearly showed that no mon­eys were re­ceived into those ac­counts, but amounts to­talling R419 426.97 had been paid out.

“This, they de­ter­mined to be a mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of mon­eys be­long­ing to trust cred­i­tors.”

Mood­ley’s ad­vo­cate, Mr Winifred had made sub­mis­sions to court that he had shown re­morse and had turned to re­li­gion to re­form him­self, but the court did not find him to be fit and proper to con­tinue to prac­tise as an at­tor­ney and con­veyancer.

In his rul­ing, Judge Piet Koen, with Judge Jo­han Ploos van Am­s­tel con­cur­ring, fur­ther or­dered the court reg­is­trar to trans­mit a copy of the pa­pers in the ap­pli­ca­tion to the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions for a de­ci­sion as to whether any crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings should be in­sti­tuted against Mood­ley.

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