A former partner has been jailed for two years and four months after being convicted of fraud.

In 2018, Robert Wiggans, former partner and compliance officer of the now defunct Hellewell Pasley and Brewer, was struck off and ordered to pay almost £10,000 in costs by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT). The tribunal heard he had made five improper transfers, totalling £86,150, from client accounts to the office account between November 2015 and August 2016. These monies related to various matters.  

On Monday 7 June, Leeds Crown Court heard that, following the SDT’s involvement, it transpired Wiggans had also misappropriated over £200,000 from a severely disabled client’s bank account. 

Wiggans was responsible for the management of compensation received by the client after she was left severely disabled caused by medical negligence. 

Records showed Wiggans had transferred money into his own bank account and then further transferred the money into the firm’s account. The money was used to pay staff wages and tax bills.

The firm, which primarily advised on conveyancing matters, had faced financial difficulties following the 2008 recession. 

Judge Neil Clark said: “This was the most terrible breach of trust… You sacrificed the needs of your client to satisfy the needs of the business".