• Application 11562-2016
• Admitted 2007
• Hearing 1 February 2017
• Reasons 16 February 2017
The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £2,000. It further ordered that she should be subject to conditions, namely that she might not: act as a manager or owner of any authorised body; be a compliance officer for legal practice or a compliance officer for finance and administration; act as a money laundering reporting officer for any authorised body; be a sole signatory to any client or office account cheques; have sole responsibility for client or office account; or have sole responsibility for authorising client or office account transfers, electronic or otherwise. The respondent should immediately inform any actual or prospective employer of those conditions and the reasons for their imposition. There was liberty to either party to apply to vary or rescind the above conditions after the lapse of a two-year period from 1 February 2017.
The respondent, by virtue of her conviction of one offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 of concealment, disguise, conversion, transfer or removal of criminal property, had breached principles 1, 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.
The hearing had proceeded on the basis that the respondent had suspected that the money was criminal property as there was no evidence that she knew that it was, and not on the basis that she had been convicted of a criminal offence which of necessity involved or in fact did involve dishonesty. The respondent’s motivation for the misconduct appeared to be her misguided loyalty to Mr LN whom she viewed as her friend. She appeared somewhat naive.
She had not made any personal gain. The transfer appeared to have been triggered by the bank telling the respondent that it was going to close her account and in that sense it was not a planned act.
The respondent had not been acting in the course of her employment and the money was not client money. The money had been recovered with minimal deductions, but as it was criminal property it was not possible to say that there had been no harm.
In the circumstances, a fine was the appropriate sanction in combination with a restriction order.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £2,652.