A woman who abused her position at law firms to obtain more than £700,000 through fraud has been jailed for three and a half years. Caprice Chaneele Lindo, 40, of Bradford, was sentenced to three years and six months in prison at Manchester Crown Court on Monday, Greater Manchester Police said.
Lindo pleaded guilty to money laundering and eight counts of fraud at a previous hearing. The court had heard that Lindo, who is not a solicitor, began working for a firm in Leigh, Greater Manchester, on a short term contract in October 2013. Tasked with handling a client’s purchase of a property in Warrington, she transferred £151,090 from the client’s account but changed the payee to an associate in Huddersfield.
The transaction was later traced to Lindo, as each member of staff could only access files using their own unique code.
In November 2013, Lindo began working for a solicitor’s firm in Stockport, where she was responsible for handling a conveyancing case involving the sale of a client’s property in West Sussex.
Lindo called the client to confirm the sale had been completed, but the client later called the firm to query why the £215,248 he was expecting had not been transferred.
A manager at the firm investigated and found a forged handwritten note which Lindo had written asking the client to send the money to a different account, which belonged to another of Lindo’s associates.
The following month, the same manager received a call from a subsidiary of Nationwide Building Society to say they had received a formal document from the firm asking for £108,456 to be transferred to an account. Enquiries showed the firm had no connection to the bank account or the email address. The account belonged to another of Lindo’s associates.
Further analysis showed that in November 2013, another formal document was sent by Lindo to Nationwide Building Society fraudulently requesting for £244,950 to be sent to an account held by one of Lindo’s associates.
Police arrested Lindo in March 2014. In total, her fraudulent activities amounted to £719,744, of which £225,459.75 has not been recovered, Greater Manchester Police said.
Detective Constable Shaun Nicholls, of the force's fraud investigation team, said: 'This was an audacious string of crimes where Lindo shamelessly abused her positions of trust and responsibility. Her selfish actions caused customers, colleagues, and other organisations undue stress and confusion, and determined efforts are still being made to ensure all the money is returned to its rightful owners.'