Pennies

Some office money that Fitzsimmons didn't steal


A Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton facilities manager has been jailed for six years for submitting fake invoices to suppliers estimated at over £1million.

Paul Fitzsimmons was the facilities and services manager at Cleary's UK office since the late 1990s. As part of his role he managed relationships with vendors of office and facilities supplies and services.

But over a three year period he also took a light-fingered approach to his work by creating fake invoices, which he sent to suppliers from his personal email and phone.

Fitzsimmons used the stolen money "to fuel an extravagant lavish lifestyle for him and his partner" which included "high-end performance cars, luxury furniture and designer clothes," the City of London police revealed in a statement.

RollOnFriday got wind that something was up last summer, when a source said that CGSH’s London CAO, Global Risk Manager, Finance Manager and IT Manager were due to attend Southwark Crown Court to be questioned. However, Cleary did not comment to ROF at the time, as the trial was ongoing. 

As part of the fraud, Fitzsimmons conspired with Toby Britton, a company director of a vendor to the firm. Evidence from the trial revealed that the pair set up fake companies with different directors listed to "make the trail less obvious and to leave as little digital footprint as possible". Invoices were then paid for work that had not been carried out, as Fitzsimmons and Britton duped the US firm to the tune of over £1 million.

The two were finally busted in 2018 when Cleary's finance team became suspicious - an investigation company was hired to comb through the accounts, and uncovered the dodgy transactions. Police arrested the pair. 

The matter was heard at the Southwark Crown Court which has now jailed Fitzsimmons for six years and Britton for four years.

A Cleary Gottlieb Stein and Hamilton LLP spokesperson said: “The firm uncovered the matter as part of its monitoring and oversight processes in 2018, and immediately reported it to the police and the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We would like to thank the police for their hard work and professionalism throughout this long running case.”

A member of the City of London police fraud team commented: “Despite working for nearly twenty years at a prestigious law firm, it would appear that in itself was not enough for Fitzsimmons and that ultimately it was this greed that was his downfall."


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Comments

Jimmy Cliffnotes 20 October 23 09:51

♪ He can see Cleary now the cash is gone, he can see all obstacles in his way ♪

PEP equivalent 20 October 23 11:14

Six years, out in three for £1m.  That's £333k per annum which I make decent mid ranking partner money.  What would you rather do, be an equity partner having to be nice to awful clients or spend time watching TV and playing X-Box?  Difficult choice.

@ 11.14 20 October 23 12:32

Sure - except he comes out without any of the cash

Anonymous Anonymous 20 October 23 13:15

Poor financial management. There are computer packages available that reduce the risk of fraud. A legal firm run by legal professions and not by professional back office staff.

Anonymous 20 October 23 17:14

@12.32 - also, he will need to pay considerable sums to a proctologist to reconstruct various parts of his hindquarters.

So that will take a small dent out of his winnings.

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered 20 October 23 17:21

Don’t your suppliers usually send invoices to you?

Anonymous 25 October 23 19:33

If only his name was Pragnesh, would have got away Scot free with the SRA brushing it under the carpet

 

Tim 20 January 24 18:25

I like to know how he’s girlfriend got away with it, she spent the money with him,she  knew!!! I’ll 

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