The managing director of a law firm has described her feeling of betrayal after a potential successor to run the business was jailed for fraud.
Gregory Davies, from Wirral, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by false representation when he appeared at Liverpool Crown Court. The solicitor was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Davies, admitted in 2014, worked at Liverpool firm Catherine Higgins Law between September 2015 and July 2016.
During that time he duplicated paperwork and created fake policy documents to request money be paid into his own bank account. He also gave clients his own bank details instead of that of his employer for them to pay for services carried out.
The court heard Davies diverted money from estates to his own bank account and on one occasion took £540 from the estate of a woman which he disguised as being a payment for funeral costs. In total, Davies made around £13,400 from his actions.
In a victim impact statement, Davies’ employer Catherine Higgins said she placed her trust in him and expected high standards and integrity.
‘I came to regard Greg as a long-term prospect and hopefully my successor to enable me to eventually retire,’ said Higgins. ‘We would talk and make plans for the future of the business and at no time did I suspect that he was committing fraud at the expense of the firm and our clients. When Greg’s criminal behaviour was uncovered I felt numb and sick. When it became clear that Greg had stolen from the firm, the feeling of betrayal was indescribable.’
Higgins said it had been a difficult time for the firm and thanked those involved in dealing with the matter for their ‘tenacity and patience’. When his actions were uncovered by colleagues, the issue was immediately reported to Action Fraud and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
She added: ‘It is disappointing when a member of the legal profession falls below the standard required but I can assure my clients that in each case where a loss was identified, my firm has repaid that loss to the clients.’