And finally… swindling sisters

Two sisters at a law firm in England stole over £1 million from clients’ accounts – with one spending the money on designer clothes and shoes.

Kimberley Bridge, 44, former managing partner at SFN Solicitors in Lancashire, misused over £960,000 as she tried to support the failing business.

Her sister, Nicola Roach, 35, a conveyancing assistant at the company stole over £141,000.

Ms Roach bought 12 pairs of Christian Louboutin shoes, priced at £700 a pair as well as a Victoria Beckham dress and handbags, Preston Crown Court heard.

Ms Bridge was handed a sentence for three years and four months after she pleaded guilty to false accounting and producing articles of fraud over six years.

Judge Christopher Cornwall said: “What you did is simply unforgivable, raiding the client account to take money out to pay irresistible amounts that were coming in on a fairly regular basis by the company’s creditors.”

Andrew West, prosecuting, said: “Both were involved in stealing and misusing client funds.

“For Kimberley Bridge it seems the motive was to try and support the ailing business in the hope that the firm could trade out of trouble which would be considerably to her financial benefit.

“She also made a number of seemingly desperate investments in an attempt to improve her financial position.

“The motive for Nicola Roach’s criminality seems simply she wanted to have a lavish lifestyle and so she too falsified client account records to achieve this.”

Ms Roach pleaded guilty to theft and will be sentenced next month.

She bought Christian Dior and Chanel make-up and two Tag Heuer watches.

Mr Cornwall, sentencing Ms Bridge, said: “No sentence of this court can reflect the full extent and misery you have caused to others.

“At the heart of this case lies a grievous and terrible breach of mistrust that was persisted in for a good six years.

“These were thoroughly decent people who were entitled to think they could trust their solicitor with their money.

“You engaged in this dreadful course of sustained dishonesty on a wholly misconceived idea that was doomed from the outset to try and keep your firm in business.”

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