‘Legal eagle’ jailed for defrauding elderly clients
A legal executive, who defrauded elderly clients while working at a firm of solicitors on trust probate cases, is starting a two and a half year sentence after pleading guilty to four charges of fraud by abuse of position between 2004 and 2009.
Forty-four year old Jacqueline D’Hazzard from Goldstone Road, Hove, East Sussex, was sentenced after Lewes Crown Court had heard that she had diverted money from accounts held at the firm on behalf of the clients into her own accounts.
She took just over seventy thousand pounds from one elderly victim and over eleven thousand pounds from another.
The offences came to light when D’Hazzard’s successor checked records she had left after she resigned in June 2009.
Detectives were informed and an investigation by the Sussex Police major fraud unit led to her being arrested in October that year.
Sentencing D’Hazzard, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall said: "You plundered the resources of four vulnerable people and spent them on yourself." He added: "Only an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate for your reckless and feckless behaviour."
Detective Constable Russ Jones, who investigated the case, said: "This was clearly a gross breach of trust and all the evidence is that D’Hazzard spent the money on herself, in paying debts and taking holidays.", adding that: "when the frauds were reported the firm co-operated fully with our inquiry."
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