Suspended sentence for struck-off solicitor who misused client funds

Kjaer: Extremely remorseful

A solicitor who used a client’s £132,000 divorce settlement to pay off her tax bill and give money to her daughter has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Analiza Kjaer, 50, admitted fraud by abuse of position at the Old Bailey and was spared jail after the court heard she was abused by her husband and suffered from mental health problems.

Ms Kjaer, who was struck off last year, was giving a two-year sentence suspended for two years and ordered to complete 100 hours unpaid work.

Victim Elena Tomsa said her life “fell apart” after Ms Kjaer failed to hand over the payments and instead used it to settle business debts and pay her tax bills, while transferring some cash to her daughter.

By the time the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) stepped in, half the money had vanished and the Compensation Fund has to make good Ms Tomsa’s losses.

Ms Kjaer set up Able Law in Wimbledon, but eventually moved to Italy with her husband and daughter.

After Ms Tomsa reported her to the regulator, SRA officials visited Able Law’s office and likened it to the Mary Celeste, the Old Bailey heard.

Ms Kjaer was arrested for fraud when she returned to Gatwick from Italy in March last year.

Her barrister, Katherine Higgs, said Ms Kjaer has now been made bankrupt, was extremely remorseful and had sent the court a letter of apology.

She said Ms Kjaer’s husband was an unemployed gambling addict who was given a suspended sentence in Italy for half strangling her when she attempted to leave him.

“She did this in a state of desperation because she was having to support her daughter and her husband who was not working,” Ms Higgs said. “She was concerned about the consequences of not supporting her husband.”

Passing sentence, Judge Rebecca Trowler KC said that, after requests for the money fell on deaf ears, “Ms Tomsa to use her words, fell apart. It caused her great distress. She was unable to sleep, she lost weight and she had to move into her daughter’s home temporarily”.

But the judge added: ‘The offence was plainly committed by you out of desperation against the background of mistreatment by your husband.”

The judge said Ms Kjaer had mental health issues and problems with intense anxiety and her progress in tackling those issues would be hindered by a jail sentence.

    Readers Comments

  • Peter says:

    What rubbish ! She should have been jailed. What about the mental stress on the victim of the fraud! I hope tge victim gets her money back

  • G Master says:

    Sympathy towards the victims left from this country, a long time ago.

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