A cashier who took nearly £750,000 from City law firm Ince & Co’s office account has been jailed for more than three years.
Juliette Holland, 46, from Hockley, Essex pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment at Basildon Crown Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty at a previous hearing to committing fraud.
She was employed in Ince & Co’s finance department between November 2010 and October 2015.
According to a Metropolitan Police statement, between March 2013 and October 2015 she ordered foreign currency using the company’s in-house exchange service, which was part of her role.
She would receive this currency and take it to a local foreign exchange and transfer it back into sterling. Ms Holland would then pay this money into her bank. In all she stole £727,597.31 through 349 separate foreign currency orders.
The police said the fraud was discovered by an employee of Ince & Co. Ms Holland was arrested on 6 April 2016 and charged on 12 May 2016 with fraud by abuse of position.
Following the sentence, the Solicitors Regulation Authority made her subject to a section 43 order, which prohibits her from working for solicitors without its permission.
According to the SRA, Ince & Co has been able to recover less than 1% of the sum Ms Holland misappropriated.
“It was found that Ms Holland acted dishonestly by carrying out the above conduct and that her actions also breached principles 1, 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.” In addition to the section 43 order, she was ordered to pay £600 in costs.
An Ince & Co statement said: “This was an internal matter that did not result in any losses to our clients. We concluded our investigations and took the necessary steps to ensure that it does not happen again some considerable time ago. Now that the justice system has run its course the matter is at an end and we will not be commenting further.”
This is not Ince & Co’s first brush with major fraud in recent years. In 2013, former partner Andrew Iyer was jailed for nearly five years after taking £2.8m from the firm and clients by submitting false invoices for expenses and disbursements from sham companies he had set up. He was also found to have faked letters in an attempt to obtain an OBE. He was struck off in 2012.