BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 18:20 GMT
Solicitor guilty of 1.2m fraud
Thomas McGoldrick
Thomas McGoldrick ran practices in Altrincham and Croydon
A solicitor who conned more than 1m from a disabled client has been found guilty of fraud.

Thomas McGoldrick, 59, of Faulkners Lane, Mobberley, Cheshire, had denied the charges at Manchester Crown Court.

The court heard he lived a life of "extravagance" while taking the money from client Keith Anderson.

Mr Anderson, 45, of Croydon, had been awarded 1.8m following a crash which left him paralysed but McGoldrick claimed he had "gifted" him the money.

Mr Anderson was paid damages after the accident in Croydon in November 1996, which left him paralysed from the chest down.

The solicitor, who had practices called McGoldricks in Altrincham, Greater Manchester and Croydon, went on to take about 1.2m of the cash.

When Mr Anderson was awarded the damages in May 2001, McGoldrick drew up a forged letter allegedly from his client "gifting" him half the money.

Custodial sentence

McGoldrick then used the money to fund his struggling business, send his children to private school, take foreign holidays, drive luxury cars and live in a large house in Cheshire.

During his trial, the court heard how he spent 3,500 joining Mere Golf and Country Club in Cheshire, 1,600 on a climbing frame for his children in the garden of his house, and 15,000 on his kitchen.

The court heard how McGoldrick also created false accounts for his firm, "grossly exaggerating" his profits to get money on 13 credit cards and 33 loans.

Mr Anderson, who was persuaded by McGoldrick not to invest his payout but to leave it in his practice's client account, told the court he would have been "crazy" to give half his money away.

The crash which left Mr Anderson paralysed
Mr Anderson was awarded 1.8m following the crash

The court heard that Mr Anderson called the firm in 2004 to be told by another solicitor that his cash had gone.

Mr. Anderson said: "I was shocked because I knew I should have in excess of 1m in the account.

"I did not know what to do."

McGoldrick was convicted of 53 counts of false accounting, two counts of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, one count of forgery and three counts of money laundering between December 1999 and September 2004.

He is due to be sentenced on 7 April.

Judge Roger Thomas QC, said, "It is inevitable there is going to be passed on him a significant custodial sentence.

"The case involves first of all him defrauding financial institutions and then the very unfortunate Mr Anderson, out of considerable sums of money over a considerable period of time.

"You have been convicted on quite frankly, overwhelming evidence."



SEE ALSO
Prosecutor attacks 'bent' lawyer
14 Feb 08 |  Manchester
Lawyer claims 900,000 was 'gift'
13 Feb 08 |  Manchester
Lawyer 'stole' crash man's cash
17 Jan 08 |  Manchester
Solicitor faces financial charges
01 Mar 07 |  Manchester
Solicitor on compensation charges
08 May 06 |  Manchester
Lawyer charged in account inquiry
04 May 06 |  Manchester

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific