Forensic accountants help uncover solicitor fraud
Forensic accountants working with the joint Essex and Kent Serious Crime Directorate have helped uncover fraud by a solicitor to the tune of quarter of a million pounds.
Before sentencing the fifty-eight year old fomer legal representative Derek Speed from Dextor Close in Canterbury to five years in jail, Maidstone Crown Court heard him admit fifteen counts of fraud, involving offences that centred on misappropriating client funds to open a bank account in a false name.
Among the transactions revealed by the investigation, Speed transferred £65,000 from a probate fund to the fake account; shares to the value of £96,500 and made a further transfer of almost £40,000 from the same probate account.
The offences reportedly came to light when the legal practice received an anonymous tip off that Speed was operating under the name of Martin Smith, one of his two fake identities
Detective Inspector Mark Fairhurst, of the joint Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "Speed abused his position as a solicitor,deceiving his employer, and fraudulently obtained a quarter of a million pounds from client accounts.
"In the preparation of his offences, Speed showed a level of premeditation and planning that was calculated and callous to deceive those around him."
He added: "The fact he stole money destined to support a charity such as the RNLI makes this even more deplorable. The inquiry was complex as he had invented two fake identities for himself but the investigation team worked hard to bring this man to account for his actions."
The offences were committed while Speed was practising as a solicitor
Photograph courtesy of BBC News
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