Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Lawyer jailed for theft from dead

Alan Benstock
Benstock used money from the trust to pay off credit card bills

A former deputy coroner and solicitor has been jailed for stealing money from a charitable trust account he set up with money taken from dead clients.

Alan Benstock, 51, of Chapel Allerton, Leeds, was jailed for 22 months for the thefts while working as a solicitor at Lister Croft in Wakefield.

Leeds Crown Court heard the will and probate specialist took £43,450 from the estates of three dead clients.

Some of the cash was used for personal expenses and to generate more business.

The court heard Benstock moved the money into LC Charitable Trust, which he had set up but not registered, in order to try to generate more business for the firm and fund personal expenses.

'Broken man'

He also used £27,200 from the trust to pay off personal credit card bills, his family's private medical fees and his daughter's private school fees, the court heard.

I do not think you were motivated by greed but you were undoubtedly motivated by a desire to live beyond your means
Judge Penelope Belcher

Benstock was arrested in February 2008 after a partner at the solicitor's firm heard about the trust and informed the Law Society.

Jeremy Barnett, mitigating, told the judge Benstock's offences had not been carried out to fund a lavish lifestyle and that he had paid back the money after borrowing it from his brother and sister-in-law.

Mr Barnett also told the court Benstock was a "broken man" and was taking medication for depression.

In her summary Judge Penelope Belcher said she was satisfied Benstock had not set out to steal money but had turned to it when he realised he could not afford his lifestyle.

"I do not think you were someone who was motivated by greed but you were undoubtedly motivated by a desire to live beyond your means", she said.



Print Sponsor


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

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific