A management accountant who stole £400,000 from City firm Clyde & Co over the course of six years has been banned from working in the legal profession.
Victoria Lucy Brown was convicted of fraud by false representation at Guildford Crown Court in 2019, after dishonestly misappropriating around £400,000 from the office account of Clyde & Co while employed by the firm.
According to a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal judgment, Brown worked as an assistant management accountant at Clyde & Co and arranged UK payments for overseas operations. After concerns arose in 2018, a forensic investigation identified 134 suspect payments made by Brown totalling just under £400,000 from the office account between 2011 and September 2017.
The respondent was subsequently sentenced to three years and six months’ imprisonment and is now a serving prisoner. Clyde & Co has also commenced civil proceedings against her.
The disciplinary tribunal found that the nature of the conviction meant it would be ‘undesirable’ for Brown to be involved in a legal practice. It granted a section 43 order, meaning the respondent is not allowed to be employed or remunerated by an SRA authorised body without the express written permission of the regulator. Brown was also ordered to pay £3,200 in costs.
However, the tribunal said it was not proportionate to impose a fine in circumstances ‘where there had been no detriment to the clients of the firm (clients’ money had not been taken by the respondent) and the reputation of the profession was protected by the imposition of the section 43 order’.