Paralegal who embezzled £220,000 from Aberdein Considine jailed

Paralegal who embezzled £220,000 from Aberdein Considine jailed

A trainee paralegal with a gambling addiction who embezzled more than £220,000 from Aberdein Considine has been jailed for 16 months, The Press and Journal reports.

At Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Callum Scott, 23, admitted stealing the sum from the law firm in order to deal with a number of payday loans he had obtained to fund his addiction.

His deception was uncovered after an internal investigation at the firm was opened when some clients asked why their money had not been returned.

Fiscal depute Colin Neilson told the court that Mr Scott helped organise refunds, repayments and overpayments and that he deposited their cash in his own bank account.

Mr Neilson said: “On receiving instructions the accused then entered his own banking details, resulting in the funds that were to be transferred to customers being transferred to his own bank account. This was done on several occasions by the accused.”

He was charged with embezzling the money between August and November 2018.

Solicitor Jen Pritchard, defending, said that Mr Scott, now a milkman, found himself in dark times and has since “faced his demons”.

She added: “He fully accepts that he had substantial gambling addictions and had got himself into a lot of financial trouble with payday loans, credit cards and other debts.

“He was spending up to half his monthly income on these gambling debts and gambling. He fully accepted when spoken to by Aberdein Considine and police that he had partaken in this behaviour. He finds it hard to put into words how guilty and ashamed he is. Looking back he is horrified of the person he was and the person he had become.”

She added that he had recently become a father, which has “changed him as a person”. He has repaid £160,000 of the total sum.

Sheriff Philip Mann said: “No doubt your activities caused concern to those clients of Aberdein Considine, who were expecting to receive refunds and I do know that some funds will be outstanding for many, many months.

“I have to say that the breach of trust is so spectacular that despite the fact you are a first offender there is no alternative to a custodial sentence in this case.”

A spokesman for Aberdein Considine said: “Aberdein Considine carries out remortgage conveyancing work under a rigorous compliance framework governed by the Law Society of Scotland, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Solicitors Regulation Authority – as well as the elite standards of our multiple lender clients.

“It was the robust internal processes within this framework which quickly alerted us to the transactional irregularities involved in this case, allowing us to recover funds and alert the police.

“No client suffered any financial loss.”

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