A former Burnley solicitor has been jailed for defrauding legal clients out of almost £1m.
Kimberley Bridge (44) of Cumbrian Way, who worked for the now defunct firm ‘SFN Solicitors’ was sentenced to three years and four months at Preston Crown Court.
The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority inspected the business which was based in Red Lion Street, Burnley, in October 2012 and after finding some financial irregularities, called in the police.
An investigation by detectives revealed that Bridge had used multiple clients’ money to prop up her ailing firm which was struggling financially.
Speaking after today’s sentencing, the officer who the lead the police investigation, Det. Sgt Nick Hodgeson said: “I am pleased with today’s result which is the culmination of over three years of work on what has been a long and complex investigation.
“Bridge has shown little empathy for her actions after preying on her victims – some of which were extremely vulnerable – whilst in a position of trust.
“In total just short of £1m was stolen over the period of a few years by taking money deposited by clients mainly for conveyancing services and using it to run the business.
“The public rightly expect that solicitors and those in positions of trust should uphold the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Her fraudulent activities have been an extreme breach of that trust.
“Unfortunately not all the victims have been compensated for their losses and some have very emotional, sad stories about money with very personal attachments after losing their loved ones being stolen.
“I hope today’s sentencing will reassure the public that these matters will be investigated fully, regardless of time. Lastly, I hope the victims can now move forward with their lives.”
Bridge’s sister, Nicola Roach (35), of Bramley Avenue, Burnley, who was a conveyancing assistant at the business, is also due to be sentenced on January 8th.