- Legal Futures - https://www.legalfutures.co.uk -

Jail for “shameless” fraudster stole £720,000 from law firms

Money laundering: added to fraud charges

A “shameless” woman who abused her position at solicitors’ firms to fraudulently gain more than £700,000 has been jailed for three and a half years.

Caprice Chaneele Lindo, 40, of Bradford, pleaded guilty to money laundering and eight counts of fraud at a previous hearing.

Ms Lindo, who was not qualified, began working for a law firm in Leigh in October 2013 on a short-term contract and was tasked with handling a client’s purchase of a property in Warrington.

A week later, she transferred £151,090 from the client’s account but changed the payee to an associate in the Huddersfield area. The transaction was later traced to her, as each member of staff could only access files using their own unique code.

The following month, Ms Lindo began working for a firm in Stockport, where she was responsible for handling a conveyancing case involving the sale of a client’s property in West Sussex. She called the client to confirm the sale had been completed, but the client later called the firm to query why the £215,248 he was expecting had not been transferred.

A manager at the firm investigated and found a forged handwritten note which Ms Lindo had written asking the client to send the money to a different account, which belonged to another of her associates.

The month after, the same manager received a call from a subsidiary of Nationwide Building Society to say they had received a formal document from the firm asking for £108,456 to be transferred to an account. Enquiries showed the firm had no connection to the bank account or the email address. The account belonged to another of Ms Lindo’s associates.

Further analysis showed that on 27 November 2013, another formal document was sent by Ms Lindo to Nationwide Building Society fraudulently requesting for £244,950 to be sent to an account held by one of her associates.

The police arrested Ms Lindo in March 2014. In total, her fraudulent activities amounted to £719,744.

Detective Constable Shaun Nicholls, of Greater Manchester Police’s fraud investigation team, said: “This was an audacious string of crimes where Lindo shamelessly abused her positions of trust and responsibility.

“Her selfish actions caused customers, colleagues, and other organisations undue stress and confusion, and determined efforts are still being made to ensure all the money is returned to its rightful owners.

“I hope this outcome brings home the message that fraudsters who think they can get away with deceitfully feathering their own nests will be brought to justice with robust consequences.”