Partner struck off for stealing £470,000 from clients

A law firm partner who was already imprisoned for four years for stealing nearly £470,000 from clients has been disbarred.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority took York law firm partner Giles Sandford Scott to tribunal, where he was charged with fraud and theft from elderly, vulnerable clients.

Scott was a partner at Langleys Solicitors in York after his firm, Munby & Scott, merged with the firm in 2007.

Scott did not appear at the tribunal at the end of March 2017 as he is currently serving time on his four-year prison sentence, handed out in September 2016.

He pleaded guilty to 5 counts of fraud six counts of theft and seven of transferring criminal property at Teesside Crown Court in April 2016.

The tribunal heard that he had stolen quantities of between £20 and £26,000 from elderly clients over which he had power of attorney between October 2009 and August 2014.

It head that he had made “improper” transfers and payments totalling £467,712 to his personal bank account from client accounts.

Scott’s trials began when he was contacted by an investigator from the SRA twice in 2015.

They wrote to Scott concerning the dealings with the four clients and the power of attorney he had taken over from them. He did not reply, until his wife wrote to the FIO saying he was ill, giving details of his medical condition.

In response to the charges, Scott had written to the SRA saying: “I can only show deep remorse and abject apology to those persons & family I have betrayed and failed in my duty…

“With constant lapses of judgement, my failure to manage my own and my cleints financial matters I became tempted to balance my own account by using money belonging to my clients. I never intended to permanently deprive my clients. I never intended to permanently deprive my clients and fully intended to repay, some of which I did….

“Debt was mounting my judgement had failed, I panicked and kept transferring money even when in hospital.”

In a letter to the tribunal dated 31 January 2017, Scott said: “I have real humility remorse and a deep down apology for what has happened and what I did and have done to the agrieved [sic] parties and all those I have hurt so badly…”

The tribunal said he had acted dishonestly and abused his position after taking on power of attorney for his clients.

It said he had “systematically” defrauded elderly, vulnerable clients, but acknowledged that Scott, who had been qualified since 1980, had previously had a long unblemished record, and showed remorse and shame at his behaviour.

It made the judgement that he should be struck off the roll of solicitors as a result of his actions.

He was also ordered to pay costs of £23,484.50.

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