Court hearings that never happened, fake documents, a non-existent social worker - a legal scam which targeted vulnerable people has been uncovered by a BBC investigation…
→ At the centre of the operation is Craig Johnson, who runs TOTALLY ADR LTD, promising “award-winning legal services”. He is also under investigation by police in Kent and Cumbria. Although Mr Johnson had a law degree, he had not qualified either as a solicitor or a barrister. These are regulated professions that require a significant amount of further training. To claim you are either of these when you are not, is a criminal offence.
→ Mr Johnson had registered a total of EIGHT (8) companies, with at least 15 different names, all appearing to offer legal services. His co-director in two of these was a 53-year-old former driving instructor, Julie Blackmer, who has NO legal qualifications.
→ In June 2023, a Facebook group was set up to warn others about Craig Johnson, Julie Blackmer and their companies. The group now has more than a thousand members. There are accounts of made-up court hearings, documents not being filled out, cases ruined, fees and private documents taken and not returned.
→ Mr Johnson does not just face complaints from dissatisfied clients. In December 2021, three Mackenzie Friends (Services that can be carried out legally by someone without formal legal training). who had worked for one of Mr Johnson’s companies complained about his practices to CILEx Regulation, a voluntary regulatory body for the profession.
→ CILEx Regulation published it’s findings (Disciplinary Record - Member, CJ - CILEx Regulation), last November and found the following:
- Craig Johnson drew up THREE (3) fake court documents
- Craig Johnson set up a company to falsely appear as a legitimate legal regulator
- Craig Johnson failed to disclose that he had been arrested and questioned by police over allegations of fraud beforehand.
→ Craig Johnson, now a former CILEx [Paralegal] Member, has been barred from being one for the next 15 years. But this does not stop him “selling” legal services.
→ In late summer 2023, Mr Johnson resigned as a director from three of his most recent companies, including Totally ADR, leaving Ms Blackmer as its sole director. A few weeks later, Ms Blackmer wrote to clients to tell them she was shutting the business because of “personal attacks”. In her letter she gives the details of an insurance policy she says will refund them and return their legal documents.
→ The BBC Investigation has found that while the insurance was real, the coverage would not provide refunds to clients or return their documents. In any case, the policy had been cancelled because payments were not kept up. Mr Johnson has also told clients that he can continue working for them under the “matrix freelance” brand. Another of his websites, Courtsupporters.com, is still live.
- Expires On: 2024-09-06
Registered On: 2023-09-06
Updated On: 2023-09-07
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