Solicitor 'borrowed' £17,000 from trusts to pay off clients

A SOLICITOR embezzled almost £17,000 from her firm's clients because she was "overworked and under pressure".

Lynne Sim, a partner with the Glasgow law firm Cannons, took the money from various trust accounts to pay off clients who were awaiting payments from other companies.

The mother of two, who had worked with the firm for four years, claimed she planned to pay the money back into the accounts when it arrived. But she was suspended from acting as a lawyer for ten years after the Law Society discovered what had been going on.

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At Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday, Sim, 32, from the Langside area of the city, admitted embezzling 16,956.84 between December 2005 and May 2006.

Prosecutor Michelle Tollan told the court mistakes in the firm's accounts came to light while Sim was off on maternity leave.

She said: "Solicitor Yvonne Robertson was brought in at that time and it became clear that there were discrepancies in one of the client's accounts.

"The client claimed that a payment had been made to him in respect of a dispute with an insurance company, but the insurers were adamant that no payment had been made.

"No paperwork for this payment could be found in the office, but investigations revealed funds to pay a cheque had been taken out of the trust account of another client. Investigations were then made into every financial transaction completed by the accused over the previous two years."

Defence lawyer Iain Fleming told the court there was no financial gain for his client. He said: "There's actually a suggestion that she suffered a financial loss, because she has repaid not only the sums which were diverted, but also the interest which would have been lost."

He said it was a question of "borrowing from one account to pay other clients".

Sim was released on bail and will be sentenced next month.