But bad eggs are not that unusual. This week I read about a UK accountant Richard Pollett who ran a Ponzi scheme offering returns of 18%+. Millions of pounds were invested in the scheme by individuals, and of course millions of pounds were lost. Mr Pollett had now been convicted and will be sentenced next month.
Closer to home, I recently came across an accountant who was so out of touch he was continually getting his clients into trouble. Filling in tax returns incorrectly so HMRC repeatedly rejected them causing his clients to be fined, and a similar story with company returns. I don't suppose this accountant is really a bad egg in the same way as Dr Patel or Mr Pollett, but his clients that have consulted me are fed up and suing him for the penalties suffered.
My wife is a practicing GP and frequently talks about the art of medicine, and following your instincts. I go along with this, and what I find surprising is how long it took for the clients to decide to leave the accountant - more than three years in some cases.
I don't know enough about Dr Patel to talk intelligently, but surely the investors offered a return of 18%+ must have instinctively thought that something stinks. The clients of the outdated accountant must have instinctively thought that something is seriously wrong when HMRC and Companies House are returning documents to them stamped 'rejected' because the accountant failed to complete them properly.
It could be apathy, greed or procrastination that offers an explanation, but once you get the whiff of a bad egg, its probably wise to walk away....