Bromsgrove solicitor jailed for false £20k contract claim
A solicitor from a Bromsgrove firm has been jailed for four and a half years after being found guilty of fraud and perverting the course of justice.
Diljit Bachada, 45, was the principal solicitor at Hollies Solicitors.
In May 2013 a woman was sent contracts signed by Bachada and herself as part of a legal claim for more than £20,000. Experts later found the victim's signature was forged.
Tharinjit Biring, 41, also from the firm, was jailed for assisting.
Biring was sentenced to 19 months for providing false information in a witness statement.
The victim had also been employed by Hollies Solicitors but resigned in August 2012 which led to a dispute between her and Bachada over money owed.
Bachada made a claim against the victim in May 2013 for £20,486.35 for breaching her contract of employment.
Two contracts were attached to the claim, signed by Bachada and, supposedly, the victim.
After realising she had not signed the contracts, the victim referred the matter to police.
Police found anomalies including an incorrect Law Society copyright and a discrepancy in dates, with the contacts apparently being signed seven months a legal clause in them had come into force.
Handwriting experts also concluded the signature was not the victim's, police said.
Bachada and Biring were later arrested and were sentenced on Wednesday at Bristol Crown Court.
Bachada was found guilty of two counts of fraud and two counts of perverting the course of justice. Biring was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
Ian Crooks, of West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said they had "brought their profession into disrepute".