Dodgy Solicitor stole £4 million and bought son £800k wine collection
31 March 2017
A senior partner who stole £4 million from her firm's clients joins the all-time high scorers of the Dodgy Solicitor pack
. Linda Box's breathtaking greed led to the closure of Yorkshire firm Dixon Coles & Gill with the loss of all jobs.
67-year-old Box was found out when a partner, Julian Gill, conducted a review of one of her probate estate files over Christmas 2015. He noticed a £5,500 payment from client account to a PR company and, over what must have been an increasingly sweaty night surrounded by print-outs, found more and more inexplicable payments including a £60,000 transfer to Box's American Express account.
Box admitted that she'd taken money when she was called into a meeting with two partners and confronted with the file. She told them she'd used it to buy marketing services for her husband's funeral business and to settle her credit card debts. But after the firm contacted the police and the SRA, it transpired that in total she had stolen £4,055,329. The bulk was lifted from 75 client files over a 12 year period, though she also used her position as registrar with the Diocese of Wakefield to nick £63,000 from the Church of England.
||Linda wears an Escada Sport Peplum Leather Jacket, £1,050, a Malo Cashmere Cardigan, £1,080 and HMPS Stainless Steel Handcuffs, 7 years
Box used £75,000 to settle a negligence claim against the firm, telling her colleagues she used client money because the professional indemnity insurer "didn't return her call
". But the vast majority was spent on pleasure. Box had an "obsession
" with buying new clothes and set up a special account with Harrods. She paid £800 a night to stay at the Ritz with her family, spent £800,000 on a collection of vintage wines for her son, redeemed her relatives' mortgages and paid for a grandchild's private school fees. Box also bought luxury holidays abroad, splashing £11,000 on a family holiday to the Edinburgh Festival. She spent £236,554 on publicity for Mr Box's funeral parlor and, because crime is not just for the big moments, she also stole to pay off her utility and council tax bills.
Box plead guilty and was jailed for seven years, and has now been struck off. The mother of one deceased client whose estate she ripped off said, “How can there be a more vile crime than pretending to be my friend when I was obviously overwhelmed with grief?
” Mr Justice Blake told Box her ruin was “all because of your unrestrained and out of control greed
”. 94%, your honour.