A legal secretary who was jailed for stealing nearly £79,000 from vulnerable clients has been banned from working in the profession.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority said in a notice published today that Dianne Spragg had agreed not to work in the profession again.

Spragg, who worked at Cardiff law firm Geldards, also agreed to pay £600 in costs as part of a regulatory settlement agreement.

The 48-year-old was sentenced to 30 months in prison in January last year following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court where she admitted charges of fraud and possessing criminal property.

She was employed as a legal assistant at the firm and her duties included assisting a fee-earner who was also a court-appointed deputy.

After reviewing its files, the firm found that Spragg had falsified the signature on cheques totalling £105,473.76. The cheques were written by Spragg payable to herself and to third parties to settle her debts.

The court heard during the trial that she had spent nearly £79,000 on shoes, clothes and furniture and had stolen money from mentally incapacitated clients including a scaffolder who had suffered a serious head injury at work.

Geldards, which is understood to have reimbursed Spragg’s victims, confirmed that a former employee has been convicted.

‘Due to client confidentiality, the firm is unable to provide any comment or details. However, we are able to confirm that no clients have lost money as a result of the incident,’ a spokesperson added.