The director of a now dissolved will writing firm described as a “serial scammer” is finally set to appear in court to face fraud charges.
Alana Benson will be joined by six other defendants relating to the activities of Indeed Law Ltd, an unregulated will writing firm that was dissolved in October 2020 after going into administration.
This comes after the original trial in February 2022 was relisted “due to problems with the jury” meaning the case had to be discharged.
It was reported in 2016 that Benson’s firm had utilised cold calling and pressure selling tactics before failing to complete promised work, with victims labelling it a “scam”.
At the time, BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme reported that the daughter of one victim described how her mother was duped into handing over £995 to the company, but died without a will or transfer of trust, as she had been promised by the company.
Samantha Mobs from Sheffield said that her mother was visited in hospital by an employee of Indeed Law where, despite being unwell, they had her sign documents and pay upfront from her hospital bed:
“At this point she couldn’t move her arms properly and could hardly speak. He sat by her hospital bed with my father and got her to sign some paperwork to say she wanted this will to be sorted…then asked her to pay upfront. She struggled to sign the form, so my dad had to help her hold the pen and sign. As she couldn’t sign a cheque, she rang the bank and did a bank a bank transfer over the phone there and then for £995.
“Later on some paperwork was sent to them about the transfer of trust, but still no will. The paperwork was very long-winded. My parents didn’t understand it and so asked if [Indeed Law] could come over and speak to them and explain it before they signed. From then on, we didn’t hear a word.
Sadly my mum was diagnosed in June with motor neurone disease and because it’s a very quick illness, she died in September. She died without a will and without the transfer of trust taking place.”
Benson reportedly refused to appear on the programme at the time. Her statement to Radio 4 claimed all the services were provided to Mobs’ parents that were required and the firm even went over and above what the family had asked for.
However, it was later found that a number of her previous firms were currently in various stages of liquidation, and Trading Standards were still receiving complaints from companies representing the former clients. One client’s case was explored by This is Money in 2015, which can be read here.
Other defendants on trial include Robynne Casswell, Jonathan de Vita, Laura de Vita, Peter Heath, Christopher Platt, and Alexander Young.
The trial is listed on 18th September at Leeds Crown Court with a time estimate of 10 days.