A former solicitor who diverted £60,000 left to the sister of a deceased client has been jailed for two years.
Simon William Griffiths, 52, formerly a partner at south-west Wales firm Eaves Solicitors, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud at a hearing at Swansea Crown Court (pictured) in February. Last week at the same court he was sentenced to two years in prison.
The charges related to two payments of £30,000 that Griffiths was meant to have made when administering a will.
Griffiths transferred the cash into the accounts of a firm he was director of after Helen Ward Jones died in 2011.
It was reported that Ward Jones's will had intended to leave money to two beneficiaries, but that one beneficiary, Christine Sheridan, did not get the payments she was entitled to.
Sheridan was reportedly disabled and living in a sheltered home in the Midlands.
Recorder Christopher Clee QC said: ‘You don’t need me to tell you [Griffiths] that your life is in ruins. You have been struck off the solicitors’ roll, made bankrupt, and lost your good character and reputation.
‘This was a significant and high degree of breach of trust and you took advantage of Christine Sheridan’s disability. The public expects members of the profession to be above reproach.’
Dyfed Thomas, mitigating, told the court Griffiths had been a trusted professional until his ‘spectacular’ fall from grace, and Griffiths wanted the court to know of his ‘genuine remorse’.
Eaves Solicitors was subject to intervention in December 2012 on the grounds of suspected dishonesty on the part of Griffiths. It is no longer in business.
In 2013, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ordered that Griffiths be struck off the roll of solicitors and made to pay £31,200 costs after breaching five principles of the SRA code of conduct.
According to London Gazette records, Williams was declared bankrupt in July 2014.