A former Clyde & Co accountant has been banned from working in the legal profession after she stole £400,000 from the firm over the course of six years.
Victoria Lucy Brown was convicted of one count of fraud by false representation at Guildford Crown Court in October 2019, having pleaded guilty to the offence.
She was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, which she is serving currently.
She has now also been banned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority from working in the legal profession again.
Brown worked for Clyde & Co from August 2008 until September 2017. The City law firm became suspicious of some transactions in 2018, after she had left the firm, and launched an investigation. It subsequently found 134 suspect payments made by Brown, totalling £400,000.
Brown had carried out the fraud by editing and resending legitimate emails to use as supporting documents to authorised fraudulent payments to herself, and authorising a bank transfer for a transaction that had already been paid in cash.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) stopped short of fining Brown, as “whilst there was no doubt that the respondent had been convicted of a serious criminal offence, this was reflected in the length of her custodial sentence.”
A Clyde & Co spokesperson said: “We are aware of the SDT judgment relating to a former employee of the firm who has been convicted of theft. This follows a complaint we made to the police in 2018 following an internal investigation where we identified an historical case of fraud against the firm, which led to Ms Brown being convicted in Guildford Crown Court and serving a custodial sentence.
“It was an internal issue and no client funds were affected. Following this incident we have reviewed our internal processes and we are confident that we have the right measures in place.”
Brown could not be reached.