Some client money that Sadeeq didn't steal.
A trainee solicitor has been jailed for stealing more than £100,000 in client compensation, to fund a gambling habit.
Tauseef Sadeeq worked at Bolton-based PI firm Jacob Miller solicitors as a paralegal before becoming a trainee in 2020.
However, just as his career was starting, Sadeeq took a light-fingered approach to the firm's accounts. Over a 12-month period, he directed insurance payments totalling £100,437 to his own account, as well as another £2k from the firm, according to a report by Legal Futures. Sadeeq used the money to cover losses he'd made gambling.
The trainee was rumbled in March 2021 when the account's department queried a couple of payments. Sadeeq initially tried to cover his tracks claiming the payments had been authorised by mistake, and provided fake payment forms to the office manager. However, the firm promptly dismissed him and reported itself to the SRA.
In August 2021, the SRA placed a section 43 Order on Sadeeq, banning him from working in the legal profession without permission.
Sadeeq has now stood trial at the crown court. Jacob Miller director Hasib Khan told the court that the firm had already suffered "crippling losses" due to the pandemic, and Sadeeq's theft resulted in eight staff (a third of employees) being made redundant.
Khan described the fraud as being "particularly unsophisticated," and that Sadeeq was "always going to be caught."
Colin Buckle, prosecuting, commented on the reputational damage to the firm, as Khan noted a "number of clients" had "removed their business and instructed new solicitors" when they became aware of the incident. He added that obtaining new business had also "been difficult" due to the impact on the firm's reputation.
Sadeeq’s barrister, Oliver Jarvis, said that his client was "deeply ashamed" and "remorseful" and had "no excuses for his appalling criminality".
“He realises he has damaged the reputation of the firm, has thrown away his career which he had spent time working so hard to build and very nearly qualified and he has ripped his own family apart," said Jarvis. “He was gambling daily, and was getting into debt and took the money from the company out of desperation to cover his losses. These offences were completely out of character and driven by this appalling addiction."
Judge Martin Walsh sentenced Sadeeq to two years in jail, saying that it was "a concerted fraud, calculated and unsophisticated, but pursued over a period of time."
The consequences "were considerable", said the judge, "not only was there a fiscal loss, but the firm also suffered reputational damage.”
Get seen by the best firms when they're looking - download LawyerUp on the App Store and Google Play.
Surprised to see the SRA managed to deal with this matter before the Criminal Courts got around to it.
When firms say they are "mental health positive" they mean they are OK with anxiety and depression provided it doesn't interfere with any daily running of the business and you keep your chargeable hours up then kill yourself a decent time after they make you redundant. Gambling-, drug- and alcohol addicitions not so much.
"Bolton-based PI firm Jacob Miller solicitors"
Say no more...
Another young male succumbing to a crippling and often fatal addiction, purposefully caused by gambling companies who use data science to identify and target individuals on the cusp of addiction, and fuelled by ubiquitous advertising across all levels of sport. Luckily for them, the addiction near exclusively affects the young male population which is widely perceived to have no real problems in life, so they get away with only the lightest of criticism. Remember kids: when the fun stops, stop. Which is like a heroin dealer saying: when you get addicted, don't be addicted.
@11:14 - Oh, do pipe down.
It is well known that if regulated companies did not offer gambling, unregulated companies would happily step in. People will always want to gamble.
This gives the legal profession a bad image. A lack of good accounting practices has lost this legal firm dearly. This represents a golden opportunity for a Management Consultancy company to advise Law Firms on how to run a succesful business. Basic audit and financial management skills would avoided this issue.
Someone bent in a law firm?? Who would have thought it?
"It is well known that if regulated companies did not offer gambling, unregulated companies would happily step in. People will always want to gamble."
I agree, it's true of so many things, including for example the well known example of Kneecap Smashing Services.
People will always want to smash the kneecaps of those who have wronged them. So why doesn't the Government do the decent thing and allow regulated kneecap smashers to ply their trade?
All they are doing by criminalising the smashing of other peoples' kneecaps as a method of dispute resolution is forcing otherwise good people into the arms of unregulated kneecap smashing companies who ply their trade without regard to professionalism or declaring their income for tax purposes.
Internal financial controls???