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Technology and Legal Representation Expose Accountant's Will Forgery

Posted: Friday, 4 January 2019 @ 13:43

According to recent press reports, a high-flying accountant forged his dead mother's will to take control of a share in his family's £160million palm oil business.

Girish Dahyabhai Patel, 65, from Highgate in north London, used a blank document, pre-signed by his 'astute and devout' mother, before adding a will around it.

He did this in order to get hold of her shares and thus control over a £40million stake in the family's plantation in Malaysia.

Expert evidence was crucial with Mr Patel being caught out by minute forensic analysis, which revealed the faint indentation of her signature elsewhere on the paper.

It indicated she had signed the sheet while putting her name to several blank documents, one on top of the other, for use in the family's businesses.

At the High Court in London, Judge Andrew Simmonds QC found the will to be a forgery, meaning a previous will - leaving everything to his brother Yashwant - will stand.

In a  case like this you look at the overall evidence but expert evidence is often the key factor. And so it has come to pass here.

Analysis of the purported will  backed up what  brother Yashwant had claimed, namely of a practice within the family, whereby blank documents were signed in bulk, so business could be conducted in the absence of others.

Under the microscope, an expert found on the 2005 document the indentation on the page of another signature of Mrs Patel's nearby.

Tests also showed specks of printer ink on top of the signature, but none underneath, suggesting the signature came before the text.

The Judge had a real go at the accountant too calling him a self-confessed liar.

Where he will get clobbered apart from reputation is on legal costs. Girish Patel agreed to pay £450,000 on account of his brother's total legal costs, estimated at £550,000. His own costs are estimated at almost £750,000.

This case would have been stressful for everyone and the judge is put on the spot too.