Jonathan Gilbert spent the majority of his 17-year legal career as a property partner at a UK law firm , with clients ranging from Blue Chip MNC’s, high net worth individuals, professional sports personalities to internationally renowned celebrities. In 2014, he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for his facilitating role in a large and complex mortgage and bank fraud conspiracy that totalled over £50million. He was released from prison in June 2020 having served six years.
Whilst practising in Windsor (UK), Jonathan was introduced to a charismatic property investor and Virgin Airline pilot, Mark Entwistle; they became friends as well as business acquaintances. Unknowingly, at this point, Jonathan’s life was set to change forever. Jonathan represented him in the expansion of his property business and for a short while, life was pretty good.
However, property has a unique way of corrupting people and having become closely connected to his client, it became increasingly difficult to prioritise ethical and professional standards above the hustling and horse-trading that comes with property development. Initially, Jonathan would turn a blind eye to things that should have been obvious to him as a solicitor, to keep his conscience clear. This advanced to Jonathan’s direct collaboration in fraud, where he had turned into a dishonest and corrupt professional, which inevitably led him on a destructive pathway.
In 2009 the fraud was finally detected and consequently, Jonathan was inevitably subjected to multiple jeopardy; he was bankrupted, arrested, struck off the roll (“One of the Worst SDT Cases”, Law Society Gazette, April 2011), indicted, prosecuted, publicly shamed, and imprisoned. At his sentencing hearing at Southwark Crown Court in London, the trial judge, His Honour Judge Peter Beddoes observed: “yours was about as bad a breach of trust as it possibly could have got…Entwistle could have achieved almost nothing of what he did without your active complicity” (Court Transcript, 22nd July, 2014).
Whilst serving his custodial sentence, Jonathan embraced higher education tutoring his fellow prisoners on degree courses whilst also undertaking an MSc in Counter Fraud and Counter Corruption Studies at the University of Portsmouth (UK) by distance learning. For his thesis, Jonathan submitted an auto-ethnographic study of solicitor-enablers and mortgage fraud In November 2018 he was awarded his MSc with Distinction.
Since January 2019, Jonathan has been undertaking a PhD at Cardiff University (UK) where he is researching the organisation of mortgage fraud and the governance and regulation of financial services in the UK . He is being supervised by the internationally renowned financial crime academic, Professor Mike Levi. Jonathan is also a graduate tutor and teaches on the Criminology Bachelors degree programme.
As Global Head of Learning & Development at IN8, Jonathan conducts corporate training workshops and keynotes to global organisations and government agencies. In person or virtually, Jonathan has presented to many diverse audiences, including the UK Serious Fraud Office, the UK National Crime Agency and Her Majesty’s Cabinet Office (UK).
His speaking focuses on ethics, criminogenic culture, bribery and corruption, compliance, regulation and financial crime. He delivers these subjects by leveraging from his real-life experience and insight on real-world financial crime and business risk.