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Dodgy Solicitor Top Trumps

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Legal executive jailed for stealing £200k from law firm
26 October 2012
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A legal executive has been jailed for three years after admitting stealing £205,000 from her own law firm.

In happier days, Ruth Turner was a legal executive at Kundert Solicitors of Coventry. She rose through the secretarial ranks to become a conveyancing executive. But it started to go wrong in February 2009 when she began stealing money from conveyancing completions, taking up to £21k at a time.

As usual for a law firm, it took two and a half years for anyone to notice what was going on. In the meantime she had blown the cash on home improvements and in compulsive attempts to buy friends, taking hangers-on out for meals, shopping trips, and to Neil Diamond concerts. That's one way to make friends.

    Ruth on her way to a Neil Diamond gig

In an unusual twist to the story, Turner told police that she had actually stolen over £400k, although a lack of evidence meant that she was only charged in relation to £205k. It seems the accounts system at Kundert Solicitors could do with a little tightening up.

Turner was sentenced to three years inside earlier this week. That seems like a long time, especially when you consider it's the same sentence that was handed out to Christopher "£1.3 million" Grierson. Judge Richard Griffith-Jones at Coventry Crown Court said that the thefts, done "out of greed", marked a "serious abuse of trust" which, given the economic conditions at the time, meant that others' jobs had been at risk.

Turner joins the ranks of the Dodgy Solicitors. Make sure you send in your story of legal chicanery to the usual place.

Name
Jurisdiction
Crime
Sentence
Matthew Kluger, ex Skadden
USA Insider trading
12 years
Douglas Arntsen, ex Crowell & Moring
USA
Theft of $10.7 million
4-12 years
Martin Weisberg, ex Bakers
USA $3m money laundering, securities fraud
8 years expected
Simon Morgan, ex Milners England Theft of £1.4 million 7 years
Kevin Steele, ex Mishcon
England £18.4m conspiracy
5 years 6 months
Louise Martini, ex Williamson & Soden
England Theft of £1.7m
5 years
Hugh Wotherspoon, ex Laddas & Parry
England Groping on a night bus
5 years on the Register
Ajayi Seun, ex Doves Solicitors
England Fraud involving £5.5m
4 years
David O'Shea, ex O'Donovan
Ireland Theft of €779,000
4 years
Kenneth Hunt, ex Hunt Kidd
England Theft of £1m
4 years
Ruth Turner, ex Kundert Solicitors
England
Theft of £205,000
3 years
Christopher Grierson, ex Lovells
England Theft of £1.3m
3 years
Barbara Gayton, ex Hunt Kidd
England Theft of £1m
2 years
Elena Quinlivan
England £1.3 million mortgage fraud
2 years
Andy Hodges, ex Fraser Brown/Challinors
England Theft of £70,000
18 months
Emma Rowsell, ex CC
England Theft of £63,000
18 months
Richard Simkin, ex Fulbright
England Theft of £100,000
16 months
Judie Groom, ex CC
England Theft of £23,000
15 months
Leonard Sawyer
USA Lewd acts
180 days expected
Partner, Hogan Lovells
Dubai Running a red light
20 days
Pissed trainee, Freshfields
Dubai Being pissed
2 days
 

  

Comments

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anonymous user
26/10/2012 09:07
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What about Marc Dreier, the partner who got 20 years for fraud in New York? Surely he deserves a place in the table as the lawyer with the longest ever prison sentence?

see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Stuart_Dreier

Also is an excellent movie about his crimes, 'Unraveled'.
anonymous user
26/10/2012 11:25
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Should she be called a dodgy solicitor, as she wasn't actually a solicitor?
anonymous user
26/10/2012 11:35
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The CC people weren't lawyers either ....
anonymous user
26/10/2012 11:41
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"The CC people weren't lawyers either"

I hope that you are not implying that the Legal Executive in question here wasnt a lawyer?
anonymous user
26/10/2012 18:38
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Anyone who studies law can call themselves a lawyer. A legal executive can't hold him/herself out as a solicitor.
anonymous user
26/10/2012 21:51
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Would you mind if I offer a few remarks about this feature? Please add this to your comments section.

I know she has done wrong and I neither excuse nor condone it. However I do think this gleeful and nasty coverage is unfair and demeaning. We don't know the full story and we are supposed to be lawyers. Kicking someone like this when they are down is undignified. There is just something not right about it.

Also it has no relevance or bearing on what I understand to be the main purpose of this site, which is to inform City associates about goings-on in the City legal environment in a fun and irreverent way. That's why I come here. By all means cover these stories where they are relevant to that milieu, but I do not wish to laugh and poke fun at disturbed and damaged individuals. It's just mean.

I think this is a terrific site and there is a lot of good humour here. 'Glamorous Solicitor', for example, is good-natured and without malice. The same cannot be said for this nasty section of the site. Please show some ethics, fairness and dignity in your treatment of others - much crime occurs due to the circumstances a person finds themselves in, and anyone can suffer a misfortune. That is not in any way to excuse it, but this lady - and the others you feature - have been punished and ruined. It is not your business to pile on more abuse and humiliation with it.

Thank you.
anonymous user
27/10/2012 14:41
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I agree with the first comment below. This site can do without this stuff...
Cat on a hot tin ceiling
29/10/2012 07:28
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Errm she's a criminal who ripped off a law firm for a six figure sum. Surely thats fair game for a site dedicated to the goings on in law firms.

anonymous user
29/10/2012 08:00
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The issue isn't the relevancy as such but the way these stories are covered here. And what's with the 'Errm'?
anonymous user
29/10/2012 14:30
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Please note that the person in this article is not a legal executive and has never been a member of ILEX/CILEx nor studied for any legal executive qualifications.
anonymous user
30/10/2012 15:19
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This poor woman thought she was just a crook, but now she has been branded as "disturbed and damaged" too.

In contrast, are the glamerous solicitors, who have (probably!) not done anything wrong, more deserving of our ridicule? There is a little bit of a double standard in the above comment.

It is undignified, I agree with that, but these people do undermine the profession, give us all a bad name, and perhaps holding them up so their peers can have a jolly good laugh at their expense is quite a fitting consequence for them.

I enjoy these stories, but appreciate that its not very nice of me to do so.
anonymous user
30/10/2012 22:27
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She is disturbed and damaged. Her defence barrister confirmed as much.

I doubt you care very much about the good name of the profession, or you would protest. How does it help the profession? More importantly, how does it assist an understanding of the pressures in the profession if the 'normal' reaction is to laugh at this type of conduct?

The above arguments put in defence of Roll on Friday are incoherent. This is because there is no proper justification for these articles. They are simply examples of childish, immature humour.

Roll on Friday professes to care for people who work in the profession - that is, unless it can gain a cheap laugh at someone else's expense.
anonymous user
30/10/2012 22:32
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One further point - the original contributor was not suggesting that those featured in Glamorous Solicitor are more deserving of ridicule. It was pointed out that the Glamorous Solicitor feature is good-natured and without malice.

That you cannot spell 'glamorous' correctly perhaps provides a clue as to why you failed to comprehend the point.
anonymous user
31/10/2012 10:54
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The comments about RoF being wrong to highlight this story seem really bizarre.

Sounds like the person(s) making this point feel uncomfortable about lawyers being held accountable. (Perhaps they don't like to be accountable themselves either?)

Perhaps they prefer no one mention what lawyers get up to? Or maybe they have some deluded(and dangerous) view that it's better not to make public information about criminal behaviour of people in positions of power? (Just see what holding back on Jimmy Savile resulted in if you're wondering if self-censorship is a good idea).
anonymous user
31/10/2012 11:50
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There's nothing gleeful about this story, it's just a fairly standard recitation of publicly-available facts (albeit with a pinch of the usual RoF style). That a employee stole £200k from her firm is clearly newsworthy.

And to be fair, it also criticises her firm (for taking 2 years to catch up with her - talk about systemic failure), AND wonders about her pretty harsh sentence when compared to others who stole FAR more money (e.g. Grierson).

As to her mental state, I dare say almost every single member of the table above attempted similar mitigation (e.g. Grierson). For some (e.g. Grierson), it clearly worked. But perhaps not in the case of Ms Turner.

More power to your writers' elbows.
anonymous user
31/10/2012 18:32
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hahaaaaaaahahaha Neil Diamond gigs.

Keep these Dodgy Solicitor stories coming Rof. People can always choose not to click on them, or to climb down off of their soap boxes before they do.
anonymous user
01/11/2012 01:13
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Once again, the apologists for this site misrepresent the criticism being made. I am not suggesting the story is anything but newsworthy, nor am I suggesting that the activities of lawyers should be exempt from scrutiny. The issue is the way in which the story is covered here.
anonymous user
01/11/2012 08:14
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I don't see any issue in the way the story is covered. The story is fact based and as balanced as it can be I think under the circumstances. That it is not absent of humour is in keeping with the rest of the site, and what (in my experience) the visitors to RoF come here for.

The greed score and the top trumps theme might perhaps offend the people being reported, their friends, colleagues and families, but I do not understand why this should otherwise upset people. Free speech sometimes comes at the the cost of upsetting a minority.
anonymous user
06/11/2012 08:47
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Let's be quite clear about one thing. According to the CILEX Directory of CILEX Fellows, this woman was not a chartered legal executive (like solicitor, a protected title). And, no, anyone who studies law cannot call themselves a lawyer: CILEX Fellows can. CILEX has issued clear professional guidance on this.
anonymous user
08/11/2012 15:08
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LAWYER

Noun: A person who practices or studies law