Dodgy judge ripped off clients for £1million
27 January 2017
A district judge who set up a solicitor's firm ripped off clients to the tune of more than £1million. And in a tragic turn, the firm's accountant who was caught up in the fraud killed himself.
Judge Simon Kenny, an Australian national living in Sussex, swindled clients by generously shifting money from the firm's client and office accounts to himself. Kenny's assistant and former lover Emma Coates was also in on the ruse, and the pair used the money to fund extravagant lifestyles. Coates paid off four mortgages with the money, and went on a spending spree which included buying hot tub log cabins, which ironically would later land her in hot water.
In a dark twist, the firm's accountant Robert Foskett stumbled across the fraud in 2011 and became depressed and killed himself. Foskett wrote in a suicide note that he felt pressure mounting on him after discovering that Kenny had duped him into fraudulently signing an audit certificate. The accountant also said in the note that Kenny had lied, assuring him that money would be transferred from a trust to cover the wrongful transfer of funds from an account, but that never happened.
The SRA discovered the various counts of fraud and shut down CK Solicitors in May 2011, and the Sussex police swiftly launched an investigation. However, that year a brazen Coates also set up eponymous firm Coates and Co, where she stole a further £85,000 from a client's will.
Following the police investigation, Kenny and Coates were put on trial. In court, Kenny denied any wrong-doing and tried to place the blame on his former-lover and assistant Coates, saying that she must have hacked his email.
Another dodgy solicitor slides into the pack
Last week the jury convicted Kenny of fraud totalling over £1 million, whilst Coates was convicted of of fraud totalling over £415,000. A third defendant, Stephen Hiseman, who worked at CK Solicitors, was also found guilty of swindling clients out of tens of thousands of pounds. The court will sentence the three this week.