High Court places Bobroff law firm under curatorship

Law Society brings urgent application to freeze practice assets.

Personal injury law firm Ronald Bobroff & Partners (RBP) was placed under curatorship on Thursday following an urgent application brought by the Law Society of the Northern Provinces (LSNP). Johan van Staden ,the LSNP’s Head of Member Affairs, was appointed as curator bonis to RBP.

This follows the apparent fleeing of Ronald and Darren Bobroff, two directors of RBP, as well as Darren’s wife Liza, to Australia ahead of an arranged surrender to the Hawks last week. They would have been arrested and then applied for bail in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

The third RBP director, Stephen Bezuidenhout, was arrested on Wednesday morning by the Hawks, and appeared in court. He was granted R20 000 bail, subject to strict reporting conditions. He may not go near any departure points.

The Hawks also took the precaution earlier this week of arresting Ronald’s wife, Elaine. She was granted bail of R150 000 and her bail conditions include that she has to wear an electronic monitoring device.

Ronald, Elaine and Darren Bobroff face a number of charges relating to fraud and money laundering as does Darren’s wife Liza and Stephen Bezuidenhout.

Curatorship application

The LSNP Vice President, Sandile Beauchamp, told Judge Peter Mabuse in the Pretoria High Court that a forensic investigation into the affairs of RBP has revealed gross financial irregularities. The findings included theft, fraud and tax evasion and the overcharging of many accident victims on whose behalf RBP instituted claims at the Road Accident Fund.

Read Law Society files damning audit report against Bobroffs

According to Beauchamp, the LSNP was notified earlier this week that the Bobroffs have both fled South Africa and are currently in Australia.

He also told the court that the business of RBP (including its client files) was recently sold to law firm Taitz & Skikne and that the LSNP was not notified of this transaction as required by law.

The LSNP has also applied, on the basis of the findings of the forensic report, to strike the Bobroffs and Bezuidenhout from the Roll of Attorneys.

Beauchamp also said there is currently in excess of R29.6 million in RBP’s various trust banking accounts and the Road Accident Fund was due to pay R45 million to the firm in the course of next week. Ronald Bobroff is the sole signatory of this trust account whilst Darren Bobroff and Bezuidenhout were required to sign jointly.

He also said that a number of RBP clients had notified the LSNP that Taitz & Skikne had approached RBP clients telling them that it had bought the business of RBP.

Says Beauchamp: “Any inclusion of client files and/or mandates to the firm, as a term of the agreement of sale, is void. The property rights in respect of client files vests with the clients and do not form part of the assets of RBP.”

He told the court that clients of RBP were not afforded the right to exercise a choice as to the appointment of alternative attorneys.

The court papers reveal that Bezuidenhout had not been told of the Bobroffs’ intention to leave for Australia and that he was unable to operate the firm’s bank accounts.

The result of the curatorship order is that the Bobroffs cannot touch the money in RBP’s accounts as the court has effectively frozen them, to allow Van Staden time to take control of the practice.

LSNP President Anthony Millar told Moneyweb: “The LSNP is committed to protecting the public and has taken this extraordinary step to ensure that this is done.”

Read the LSNP’s curatorship application here.

Read the LSNP’s application to strike the trio from the Roll of Attorneys here, here and here.

Moneyweb has emailed questions to Ronald and Darren Bobroff, but hasn’t received a response.

Read the LSNP’s media statement.

COMMENTS   15

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All this paperwork, affidavits, court rolls, blah blah. Reminds me of Dickens’ Bleak House. It all gets bogged down in the system while the perps are jolling away in Oz. And they’ll be long gone from there by the time some cop tries to arrest them. Bahamas next stop.

And you don’t care about the suffering of the victims?

What is the point of this article?

Not even nice to know. What are readers and investors supposed to do with this nothing article?

Just feeding the feel good, go nowhere brigade.

Give is something meaningful to help us in our investments and tell us real news and stats on SA economic and financial performance. Ditto for international: where are the FTSE index numbers as I cannot find them: help.

When deciding on what nonsense to print ask yourself: is this likely to help the MW shareprice?

@ pacaratac – This article is not aimed at the I’m-alright-Jacks or Jills, instead it informs the countless road accident victims who had the misfortune to use Ronald Bobroff’s firm for RAF claims that the wheels of justice are finally moving in the right direction

With reports of R53 million making its way to through Elaine Bobroff’s banking account, R29.6 million in RBP trust banking accounts and a further R45 million due from the RAF, the extent of the Bobroff’s theft and fraud is staggering. If the subject matter fails to hold your attention, skip related articles and move on to what interests you, while the rest of us remain riveted by Tony Beamish’s incisive reports

Dear Cara.

There is nothing of consequence to move on to. The retirement pieces that are good have been done to death over and over again with only seldom anything new.

Bleeding heart, handwringing response adds zilch to this ever poorly performing site/business……………….check out the share price.

Bobroffs deserve all the condemnation that is coming their way. Hope that those who deserve compnsatioin get it too. That however does not and should not make this type of article a major issue of an investment site ………………….or whatever it is currently supposed to be.

Perhaps some readers may get the message that the original comment was focused on the quality of the site rather than just the ‘riveting’ article.

As a Moneyweb shareholder, seeing this type of nothing article yet again is disappointing, when there is so little else. Maybe some do visit this site for the great reading; one would think that there would be other more tangible reads too.

PS: if anyone wants some riveting reading suggest that they pop down to their local library…………..maybe there is some investment information/advice there too.

Looking at Cara Vans upvotes versus yours, its clear the voting public shares Cara Vans point of view… so be a happy shareholder that the public who visits and thus see the ads, like what they are being given.

Finally moving, but it will take years for the victims who await pay-outs to get what is due to them. The LSNP should be ASHAMED, but they too don’t care.

The LSNP, of which Bobroff was president of for many years, has just slammed the door on an empty stable. I am sure Bob and his delightful son cleaned out their offices before leaving. Just the partner and his wife to take the fall. Nice. As mentioned earlier they look after their own kind.

LSNP President Anthony Millar told Moneyweb: “The LSNP is committed to protecting the public and has taken this extraordinary step to ensure that this is done.”

What an ironic and disingenuous statement to be made by this disgusting, immoral Law Society!

The tardy, deliberately foot-dragging behaviour of the Law Society in finding every excuse not to take decisive and swift action against the Bobroff’s is, in my opinion, a much bigger story than the criminal actions and corrupt behaviour of the Bobroffs.

Parliament should appoint an urgent Commission of Inquiry into the criminally inadequate responses of the Law Society. This immoral behaviour is a general problem, and is not restricted just to this Law Society or the Bobroffs, but seems endemic – and ONGOING – to this profession.

It is time to put a stop to this rot. And no, most definitely, the lawyers cannot be trusted to put their house in order. That time has passed. Parliament must take the lead, and get involved – urgently.

Some perspective is needed. Anthony Millar was appointed after the criticism against the LSNP’s handling of the Bobroff matter surfaced. The suggestion is that Bobroff had some sort of influence over some members of the LSNP and this may explain the LSNP lack of action. Millar then campaigned for fresh LSNP elections. He was not part of the old guard.

Thank you Ryk. . The Law Society offers no excuse. Personally I felt the same way and hence my campaigning for the first election in 20 years. We have just passed 130 days in office.

We are working hard to rectify things and have made some headway as evidenced by recent developments published by Moneyweb. There is much more to be done. If anyone has a specific complaint that they they feel warrants my personal attention they should address an email to me at the LSNP via director@lsnp.org.za.

The fault lies squarely with the “Law Societies” who tested on their laurels for so long and then only after extreme pressure from their victims took so long to act on information on the Bobroffs, it also lies on the shoulders of our tired and exceedingly slow judicial systems which take forever to act when they have facts facing them squarely in the face of actions of perpetrators such as the Bobroffs, and it also lies in the laps of our lovely law specialists who know what is going on and seem to either do nothing to stop the rot or help to cover their pals in the same profession as themselves. The LSNP are 100% responsible for being irresponsible in the time lag taken to bring the 2 Bobroff scoundrels to book that they were able to escape from South Africa. Now there is going to be a huge issue with massive cost to try and get them back. It is too little too late!

The Bobroff case has been going on for years. Time now to openly name and shame those who helped them skip by procrastinating and / or doing nothing to stop their activities. Their attorney may have known of their impending escape and therefore should now be arrested by the Hawks and grilled in harsh fashion.

Many law firms over a number of years have pulled the wool over their clients injury claims. This is the tip of the iceberg. 20 years ago my mother used a law firm for an MVA claim and her compensation was large but she only received a portion of it and the law firm never produced any accounts despite being requested to do so.
We need to see more law firms brought to book especially in the MVA field and medical claims fields. The Law societies should instruct all law firms to follow a code of code practice when it comes to injury claims so that the public know what to expect.
The Bobroff’s are only the tip of the iceberg in stopping these practices.

End result – victims’ suffering continues unabated while LSNP get away with their UNACCEPTABLE inaction over the years. Every one of the LSNP heads should also be arrested and prosecuted.

End of comments.

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