Former Society Member Mark Bonner was sentenced to five and a half years’ imprisonment on Friday, 16th June 2017 for two counts of fraud, amounting to a total of just under £360,000 from two separate clients. Both sentences will run concurrently. Bonner’s Society membership was revoked in 2012 following a previous, unrelated prison sentence.
The court heard how Bonner defrauded his first victim in 2010 whilst running MBT Will Writing and Legal Services. The client, a woman in her 60s entrusted Bonner to assist with the administration of her late partner’s estate, which included the sale of a residential property worth around £102,000. The court heard how all of the money from this sale was paid straight into Bonner’s bank account and none was passed onto the client. The majority of this money was then spent by Bonner, who eventually handed over just £40,000 to the victim.
The client and other members of her family chased Bonner over the following two years for the remainder of the money, however when Bonner ceased contact with the woman, the incident was reported to the police by another member of the victim’s family. When officers began to investigate the incident, they found the £40,000 that had been paid had in fact come from another client’s estate who was defrauded by similar circumstances. The second victim, whose property sold for £204,000 received none of the money from the sale, and none of the other money due from the estate, totalling £298,000. The victim, a man in his 70s was contacted by the police who informed him he had been the victim of fraud.
The Society of Will Writers would like to take this opportunity to remind all of our members, and members of the public that we operate a stringent admissions process, and all potential members are subject to background checks performed by our membership team before any membership is granted. Whilst all applications are considered, we take actions such as fraud very seriously, and operate a zero tolerance policy against such acts. We reserve the right to refuse membership, or upon any later discovery of such acts, suspend, or even revoke any memberships.
The Society has been, and continues to be more than willing to assist the police in dealing with any incidents involving Mark Bonner whilst he was a member of ours. Anyone who has been a victim of Bonner can call the police via 101.
If you have a complaint about a member, you can speak with us directly either by contacting the office on 01522 68 78 88, or by emailing [email protected] in strictest confidence.