UK paralegal found guilty of stealing £440,000 for gambling

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

Double the crime

A paralegal in England has been jailed for three years after stealing nearly £440,000 ($540,245) from his business.

Paul Young, 38, has pleaded guilty to fraud by misrepresentation 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 internal investigation after more than £5,000 ($6,139) mistakenly transferred

Young was initially the subject of an internal investigation after more than £5,000 ($6,139) was mistakenly transferred under his command. Young was reprimanded but allowed to continue his work after claiming he had made a real mistake due to poor mental health.

Track the money

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

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

One of Young’s colleagues discovered his scheme in June 2019, after a client requested an update on a payment. Subsequent research revealed that Young had authorized six payments over £32,000 ($39,291) from September 2017 to May 2019. A subsequent investigation revealed that Young had used multiple accounts to steal around £438,000 ( $537,790) over a three-year period.

“Young’s deceptive, brazen and criminal behavior spanned three years and caused significant financial loss to both his employer and his clients,” said Detective Michelle Wilkinson of the police’s Complex Fraud Team of Greater Manchester. “He held a position of trust in his workplace and had access to large sums of money, but instead of performing 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 gambling site, details of which have not been revealed.

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

Wilkinson noted the blatant deception involved in the scam.

“Even after [Young had] was surprised the first time and pleaded his innocence, he then proceeded to make bank transfers to his own account and then split it with Henry, leaving them both to reap the rewards and spend the stolen money.

Young was barred from working in the legal profession by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) in 2020. BLM said he was terminated from the company after confirming he had breached company policy and SRA rules.

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