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ACS Law solicitor is bankrupt

Coin stacks

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 8 Jun 2011 at 06:50

A solicitor at the centre of a notorious file-sharing case has been declared bankrupt.

Andrew Crossley was the sole solicitor of ACS Law, which sent letters to accused file-sharers demanding settlements of £500. The "speculative invoicing" campaign has been criticised by consumer rights groups and courts, and drew the attention of online activists, who hacked the ACS Law website, leading to the leak of an email database.

Following that data breach, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said he had planned to fine Crossley £200,000, but dropped it to £800 after the now-unemployed solicitor signed an affidavit saying he was now of limited financial means.

The £199,200 discount raised eyebrows, as ACS Law was believed to have made hundreds of thousands of pounds in a single month last year, while Andrew Crossley continued to reside in a £700,000 home with a Bentley in the driveway.

Now, PC Pro can reveal Crossley was declared bankrupt by the High Court on 20 May.

The Information Commissioner's Office was apparently aware Crossley was filing for bankruptcy at the time it reduced the fine, according to a document supplied by the ICO to PC Pro following a Freedom of Information Act request.

"If the ICO had imposed a higher monetary penalty on Mr Crossley it is likely that less money would be available to pay other unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings," the document said. "This could include individuals who suffered as a result of Mr Crossley’s business activities and who are now owed money by him."

Solicitors who have been declared bankrupt cannot continue to practice without permission from the Solicitors Regulation Authority - which is currently investigating Crossley's conduct in regards to the file-sharing letters.

Andrew Crossley was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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User comments

Couldn't happen to a nicer chap!

But I bet his wife owns the house and the car; if she dumps him, justice might just be achieved.

By milliganp on 8 Jun 2011

So that means...

... the PC Pro story of 26 May 2011 didn't have all the facts. It was complaining about the £800 fine when Mr Crossley had been delared bankrupt a week before.

By Stiggy on 8 Jun 2011

and...

was still living in a £700k house with a Bentley in the drive?

Is he still living there? If so it just goes to show what a farce his bankruptcy is - just shift ownership of your assets to someone else and screw your creditors.

By neilwar1 on 8 Jun 2011

yes!!!!!

Come on Stiggy, stop defending this scumbag. He deserves every bit of bad news he gets.
I just feel sorry for all the people he financially bullied, i doubt they will get any of their money back. Ah well, as long as he swops his Bentley for a Nissan Micra ill be happy

By HolisticLA on 8 Jun 2011

Stiggy

We interviewed Mr Crossley for an almost an hour on May 25. At no time did he disclose that he had filed for bankruptcy, despite being asked several questions about his financial status.

The information only came to light after we filed a Freedom of Information request about the Information Commissioner's investigation into Mr Crossley.

Barry Collins
Editor

By Barry_Collins on 8 Jun 2011

guys. he's down. time to stop kicking.

hopefully he's learnt his lesson, but gloating is never a good look.

By gavmeister on 8 Jun 2011

Don't feel sorry for him

If anyone is tempted to feel sorry for Mr Crossley then can i suggest that you read some of the responses he sent to people. One was from a nurse who had been asked to respond on behalf of a terminally ill cancer patient who couldn't even turn a pc on, never mind fileshare.

Or how about Mr Crossley saying he was giving up the pirate chasing while at the same time passing data (illegally?) to a private company set up by ACS Law employees to continue the letter writing campaign.

No i personally don't feel sorry for Mr Crossley and only hope that he is made to feel the same as some of his innocent victims.

By randalf on 8 Jun 2011

Erm...

"guys. he's down. time to stop kicking."

Really?? Did ACS Law stop kicking their innocent victims when they were down? No.

I'll only be happy when this leech is living on the street begging for a living. An absolute farce that he can worm his way out of a £200k fine by pleading poverty. Typical, one rule for big business, another for Joe Public.

By everton2004 on 8 Jun 2011

Don't feel sorry for him

If anyone is tempted to feel sorry for Mr Crossley then can i suggest that you read some of the responses he sent to people. One was from a nurse who had been asked to respond on behalf of a terminally ill cancer patient who couldn't even turn a pc on, never mind fileshare.

Or how about Mr Crossley saying he was giving up the pirate chasing while at the same time passing data (illegally?) to a private company set up by ACS Law employees to continue the letter writing campaign.

No i personally don't feel sorry for Mr Crossley and only hope that he is made to feel the same as some of his innocent victims.

By randalf on 8 Jun 2011

Where's my last post gone?

Information about bankrupts is available in the public domain. If you go to the Insolvency Service website you can search for undischarged bankruptcs. If you go to the London Gazette website you can search for bankruptcy orders. HMRC bankrupted him.

By andylkwb14 on 8 Jun 2011

Where's my last post gone?

Information about bankrupts is available in the public domain. If you go to the Insolvency Service website you can search for undischarged bankruptcs. If you go to the London Gazette website you can search for bankruptcy orders. HMRC bankrupted him.

By andylkwb14 on 8 Jun 2011

seems a lot of judges...

It seems there's a lot of angry people on here about this guy. However, don't judge until you've walked in his shoes I'd say. You don't know the reasons for his actions yet, and in the same circumstances you can't say you wouldn't have acted similarly given the opportunity he was given. But on a point of bankruptcy, maybe one of PC Pro's readers who specialises in this can correct me, but is it not the case that you can't shift assets this way if it's proven it was done to avoid paying the tax man what he's due?

By CraigieDD on 8 Jun 2011

CraigieDD

A couple of weeks ago an old lady collapsed in the street in front of me, I had the choice of calling an ambulance and helping her until it arrived or emptying her handbag and running off. Funnily enough I knew well in advance what I would do if this ever happened. My guess is most other people on here would also know what they would do.

Now to answer your point about not being able to say what we would do in similar circumstance to ACS; I don't see any difference, I and most others have a moral framework we live by, this precludes us from nicking the contents of old ladies handbags or demanding money with menaces like ACS

By PeteMelbourne on 8 Jun 2011

@CraigieDD

"You don't know the reasons for his actions yet, and in the same circumstances you can't say you wouldn't have acted similarly given the opportunity he was given."

What a weird sentiment. I would be genuinely interested in what you think might have been a course of events that made him basically blackmail people into giving him money, other than plain old nasty greed. The man is a leech.

By Aspicus on 8 Jun 2011

Car

A Nissan Micra's too good for him, it should be a Citroen Diane.

By roberttrebor on 8 Jun 2011

@CraigeDD

I am an ex insolvency examiner and so have a speciality in bankruptcy.

To answer your question yes it is unlawful to dispose of or transfer assets when you are at a point of insolvency, that is part of the trustees job to investigate.

Another earlier poster said "and still living ina 700K house". the bankruptcy was only 3 weeks ago, The trustee will only be at the preliminary stage of their investigation, it can take many months for assets to be seized in a bankruptcy, a proper process has to be followed. It could be his and this process is taking place, it could be that it is not his or that it is in negative equity.

It is quite simple for the good folk here to at PC Pro to do a land reg search and find out who actually owns the property which they may have already done if they are conducting their own investigation

By dr10000 on 8 Jun 2011

BTW

if you have other bankruptcy related questions feel free to ask

By dr10000 on 8 Jun 2011

You don't know the reasons for his actions yet

A wild guess here but "greed" seems to tick all the boxes.

He'll be discharged within a year and his assets will have doubtless been transferred to a trusted source (probably the wife) so it'll all be waiting for him this time next year.

Don't feel too sorry for him.

By Lacrobat on 8 Jun 2011

Poor old Andrew Crossley needs cheering up

http://bit.ly/davenportlyons

By revsorg on 8 Jun 2011

Needs some Bird

If he could not pay the fine and has been criminal in his actions he should go to gaol.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority will probably never allow him to be a solicitor again as he has abused the trust placed in him.

By lenmontieth on 9 Jun 2011

@roberttrebor

lol or a Daihatsu Mira. In fact this guy doesnt even deserve a push iron!

By HolisticLA on 9 Jun 2011

Yozzer

What a joke, the law society investigating a solicitor! striking him off. That means another form for him to fill in and the need to ask a solicitor friend to sponser him for his re application, poor man, unless things have changed in recent years which I doubt.

By yozzerpro on 9 Jun 2011

Lacrobat

Greed wouldn't be too far off the mark.

The leaked emails make it very clear that the £500 demanded had more to do with being an amount that most people would settle at. Any more and you run the risk of court, any less and the economics don't work.

It would appear that under current law the pirate would be liable for the sales lost, so you would be talking one copy plus however many copies you shared.

In any event it would be substantially less than £500.

By randalf on 10 Jun 2011

Legal forethought

Knowing how he intended to run his business it is most likely that he bought all his assets in his wife's name. Depending upon where the money came from for each purchase his wife should be able to retain those assets. Only if it can be shown that assets were bought using monies obtained under this or any other scam can the trustee claim the asset(s) back into his estate. Lawyers are not the only ones to use this method and gifts between husband and wife are tax free.
Perhaps he will do as others before him. Go abroad and convince foreign nationals to make use of his legal knowledge despite being, hopefully, disbarred here in the UK. Should he not be disbarred then that must be a wake up call for all agencies advising clients.

By Jaguar on 15 Jun 2011

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