Unlawful Local Authority

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Unlawful Local Authority

Being a lawyer is a privilege and takes a lot of hard work to achieve the accolade. Lawyers should be taking notice of a case that first emerged in October 2021 and re-surfaced in June 2022 involving a lawyer representing a midlands local authority. The case involved proven allegations and a conviction handed down for fraudulently moving around forty thousand pounds belonging to a relatively small charity specialising in providing care services for persons diagnosed with cancer.

That’s The Way The Money Goes?

So how did the lawyer steal these monies from the cancer charity? The lawyer was very experienced, respected, trusted and was engaged in roles as a senior Local Authority lawyer and cancer charity Chairperson. On the surface all appeared to look fine and the charity was in a strong position to employ another staff member. The lawyer then completed the paperwork and sent regular payments to the new colleague in consideration for work carried out on behalf of the charity in numerous wage payments.

Pop Goes Her Story

However, this is where the case became interesting and it not long before it was discovered that the lawyer’s story could have been true. The supposed employee was discovered to be the lawyer’s sister and she was not residing in England. Unbelievably she was residing in Spain. When the charity account records were inspected in forensic detail it became increasingly apparent that the lawyer had made errors and far from being a genuine employeeit was obvious that the employee purportedly added to the records did not exist. The entries in the charity’s records were deliberately designed for the lawyer to transfer around an eye-watering forty thousand pounds to her private bank account.

To put the importance of the charity’s money into some form of context the monies seemingly selfishly stolen defraudedvulnerable cancer patients. If the vital monies had not been stolen by the lawyer then the charity would have been in a position to offer more services free of any charge to cancer patients at the point of use. However, thanks to the greed of the lawyer the charity had no other feasible alternative but to select important staff for redundancy because it could no longer afford to offer the services to patients.

What Did The Judge Say?

The judge at Leicester Crown Court was keen to make an example of anyone in the legal profession who is contemplating this kind of despicable selfish, greedy, and dishonest behaviour. The judge handed down a conviction for offenses involving fraud and money laundering. The lawyer’s behaviour was described as manipulative and arrogant. As a way to punish the lawyer for this wayward behaviour, the court considered all the circumstances, seriousness of the offences and handed down a custodial prison sentence of just shy of three years imprisonment to the lawyer. This was the combination of punishment for the crimes themselves and a major deterring factor to any future legal professionals who are weighing up the risks of fraudulently transferring monies belonging to charitable trust to a fake phantom employee and into their own personal private bank accounts. The lawyer has also been ordered to repay all the ill-gotten gains.

Lessons Learned?

Lawyers need to realize their privileged position and avoid bringing the reputation, standards and image of the legal profession into disrepute. They should not be giving the false impression that an employee is employed on the charity’s books and avoid situations where they are transferring monies purporting to be waged to a non-existent staff member.

The Legists Content Team

ASSESSING FIRMS

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THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES

[1] Garcha, Kalvinder - Jail for ‘arrogant and manipulative’ solicitor who stole £40,000 from cancer charity and a council - Jailed local authority solicitor ordered to repay fraud proceeds | News | Law Gazette

[2] Hyde, John – Jailed local authority solicitor ordered to repay fraud proceeds – Law Society Gazette – 13 June 2022 - https://www.ft.com/content/6c00c714-620a-4151-a010-667f1c9e84e7

[3] Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

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