Solicitor jailed for stealing funds from Clients

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solicitor jailed for stealing clients money

A solicitor who admitted taking thousands of pounds from clients whilst acting as their power of attorney has been jailed.

Alison Haley Griffiths, 55, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position and was sentenced at Swindon Crown Court to 24 months’ imprisonment.

Griffiths, who was practising in Swindon, stole around £49,000 over the course of more than two years from a 94-year-old woman over whom she had power of attorney. She transferred money from the victim’s account to her own and used the woman’s account to withdraw substantial sums of cash.

The matter was reported to police in 2021 after Griffiths admitted to her firm that she had stolen from the victim.

Solicitor’s Second report of fraud

During the subsequent investigation, a second report of fraud was made, and officers found that Griffiths had also taken advantage of an 80-year-old man.

Again acting as power of attorney, the solicitor transferred around £35,000 into her own account.

The offence was reported to police after the victim’s care provider told the family it had been unable to take payment for care due to insufficient funds in his account. The victim died in May last year.

DC Dominic Maidment of Wiltshire Police said: ‘These are two awful situations where Griffiths has taken advantage of her position and stolen tens of thousands of pounds from two vulnerable adults, one of whom is sadly no longer with us.

‘As power of attorney, Griffiths was expected to safeguard the finances of the victims and act on their behalf in their best interests. Instead, she has abused their trust by transferring significant sums of money from their accounts into hers, meaning that in one of the cases, there was no money to pay for the victim’s care.’

Alison Haley Griffiths was admitted to the roll in 2003 but has no current practising certificate. The SRA has said that following her conviction it will pursue disciplinary proceedings.

Griffiths was employed by south west firm Optimum Professional Services at the time of her actions.
A spokesperson for the company said: ‘As soon as concerns were raised about Alison Griffiths she was dismissed, and we informed the police, as well as the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We have cooperated with all investigations throughout.

‘We have reviewed all cases and work handled by Alison Griffiths and are satisfied that this is an isolated case. We are shocked and saddened at the behaviour of someone who we thought to be a trustworthy colleague.’

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