UK Paralegal Convicted of Stealing £440,000 for Gambling

An English paralegal was sentenced to three years in jail for stealing £440,000, which he then used to gamble. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Doubling-down on crime

A paralegal in England has been imprisoned for three years after he stole nearly £440,000 ($540,245) from his company.

38-year-old Paul Young pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation after illegally directing funds to his personal accounts while working for Berrymans Lace Mayer (BLM) in Manchester. The money was used by Young, who was aided by an accomplice, to fund an online gambling habit.

first investigated internally after more than £5,000 ($6,139) was incorrectly transferred

Young was first investigated internally after more than £5,000 ($6,139) was incorrectly transferred under his command. Young was reprimanded but allowed to continue at his job after he claimed that he made a genuine error spurred by poor mental health.

Tracing the money

Young was a part of BLM’s first volume motor team since 2016 and was a longtime employee. An investigation revealed that he had rerouted money allocated for clients to a bank account under his control.

Young had used multiple accounts to steal roughly £438,000 ($537,790) over a three-year period

One of Young’s coworkers discovered his scheme in June 2019, after a client had requested an update on a payment. Ensuing research revealed that Young had sanctioned six payments in excess of £32,000 ($39,291) from September 2017 to May 2019. An ensuing probe revealed that Young had used multiple accounts to steal roughly £438,000 ($537,790) over a three-year period.

“Young’s deceitful, brazen and criminal behavior spanned three years, and caused significant financial lost for both his employer and their clients,” said detective constable Michelle Wilkinson of Greater Manchester Police’s complex fraud team. “He held a position of trust within his workplace and had access to large sums of money but instead of carrying out his duties he abused his power for his own criminal gain.”

Link to gambling addiction

Young’s criminal activity was used to fund his gambling addiction as well as his living expenses. He frequented an online gaming website, the details of which have not been revealed.

37-year-old Liam Henry served as Young’s accomplice in the illegal activities, taking £185,000 ($227,149) via 75 transfers during the same period. Henry, who would withdraw the money in cash to avoid detection, pled guilty to acquiring, using, or possessing criminal property. He was then sentenced to two years and two months behind bars.

Wilkinson noted the blatant deceit involved in the scam.

“Even after [Young had] been caught out the first time and pleaded his innocence he then continued to make bank transfers to his own account and then share this with Henry, leaving them both to reap the rewards and splash the stolen cash.”

Young was banned from working in the legal profession by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in 2020. BLM said that he was dismissed from the company after they confirmed he had violated company policy and SRA rules.

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