A Belfast solicitor who walked free after stealing nearly £500,000 in mortgage fraud is facing a new attempt to have him jailed for flouting a ban on moving assets.
The Law Society is seeking to have Philip Krown sent to prison for contempt of court by drawing down an £83,000 pension fund in breach of an injunction.
At a High Court hearing yesterday it was claimed that he either spent or “secreted” the money after first putting it in an Isle of Man bank account last year.
A judge was also told that £16,000 was seized by police from a safety deposit box in London.
The case was adjourned to allow the 54-year-old, also known as William Philip Crossey, an opportunity to hand over details of any other foreign bank accounts.
Krown, who ran a successful legal practice in east Belfast, was given a suspended four-year jail sentence in November 2009 after he blew £445,000 acquired from remortgaging his Groomsport home without paying off the loan.
Krown opened a Swiss bank account and used the cash to rent an apartment in the Kensington area of London. He travelled extensively to Europe and his wife's home country of Colombia, had an account at the Ritz Hotel and bought expensive jewellery.
In court, the Law Society argued he breached an injunction granted to the body in its role as having power of attorney over his financial affairs.
John Maxwell, for the society, said: “The defendant flagrantly acted in breach of the attorneyship and in breach of the injunction.”
He added: “Opening the account and the safety deposit box are mechanisms which show it was a calculated enterprise.”
The barrister claimed it |could be inferred from Krown's |actions that he planned to go |to London and access the money, “whether he was intending to move it on further or just blow it”.
It was also disclosed that a senior fraud officer with the Legal Services Commission is currently investigating the solicitor.
Krown could be sentenced to up to two years in jail if held to be in contempt of court.
But his barrister, Frank |O'Donoghue QC, stressed Krown’s|poor physical health, resulting from chronic diabetes and having a leg amputated.
Mr O'Donoghue said: “The treatment of these conditions in Maghaberry (Prison) is perhaps not as good as it may be on |the outside.”
The judge, Mr Justice Deeny, said it was in the public interest to know why Krown should be treated any differently to another defendant accused of contempt.