A bankrupt solicitor faces being struck off after he was convicted of forgery.

A jury at Bradford Crown Court acquitted 42-year-old Philip Lowe on two charges of conspiracy to defraud in connection with a property scam after more than five hours of deliberation yesterday.

But he had admitted forging a signature on a document before the start of the trial.

The prosecution had alleged that Lowe had been part of a plot, which also involved five other people, to cheat owners out of properties in Rooley Lane, Bradford, and Eastburn, near Keighley.

Married Lowe denied both charges and blamed his unqualified conveyancing clerk Julie Miller, who has already admitted her part in the conspiracy.

During his trial Lowe, who was the sole practitioner in the Cross Hills law firm Lowe & Co, admitted that with hindsight his supervision of Miss Miller was not sufficient. "I trusted her and allowed her to get on with her own workload," he said.

Prosecutor Sean Morris told the court that during the investigation into the alleged conspiracy matters a document known as an oath for administrators was found with a false signature on it.

"When the defendant was asked about it initially he made denials and said no he hadn't forged it, but then eventually he said yes he had," said Mr Morris. "He said he had done it to cut corners... and said he shouldn't have done it."

The court heard that Lowe, of Low Bank, Burnley, was now bankrupt and living off his wife's earnings. Lowe has to pay a £515 fine for the forgery offence by the end of the year or face 14 days in jail. His barrister Charlotte Crangle said Lowe's mother had offered to pay the fine and she would then be reimbursed.

Passing sentence Judge Scott told Lowe: "There is an expression that a fool and his money are soon parted. So far as you are concerned a slack solicitor and his life are soon parted... for I rather suspect that your legal career is terminated because you were too slack.

"The fact is that nobody lost a single penny nor would they have ever lost a single penny and there is no benefit to you save putting in a few minutes' time and you've got yourself investigated and your firm closed down."

Lowe set up the law firm in 1999 with the help of a bank loan to buy premises in Cross Hills, but it ceased trading in June 2006 following a Law Society investigation.

The other defendants who have pleaded guilty to being involved in the conspiracy to defraud are expected to be sentenced in mid-December.

After the case The Solicitors Regulation Authority said Lowe had been before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal once previously and confirmed that he was facing fresh disciplinary proceedings.

A spokesman for The Solicitors Regulation Authority said: "Forgery is obviously a serious matter. It is essential that solicitors always display the highest integrity."

In September 2004, a tribunal ordered Lowe to pay a fine of £5,000 of costs of £3,500 for conduct unbefitting a solicitor.

Lowe did not contest allegations in relation to charges that he failed to keep clients informed of the progress of their case and in particular that the case had been struck out, that he sent misleading letters to clients, that he failed to act in the clients' best interests and that he failed to inform his employees of a potential claim against the firm.