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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 13:21 GMT
Lawyer admits stealing 500,000
A lawyer has admitted stealing cash and shares worth more than 500,000 from his clients.

Alistair Hall admitted a string of fraud and deception charges, including failing to turn up for trial in April last year.

The offences included cheating an elderly woman out of more than 150,000 while she was in a residential home, and stealing a rare book of Burns poetry.

Sentence on the 46-year-old was deferred for three weeks after he admitted the charges at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Residential homes

Hall pleaded guilty to five embezzlement charges, two counts of fraud, a breach of bankruptcy regulations and failing to appear at his earlier court case.

A warrant for his arrest was issued in April last year after he failed to appear for his scheduled trial at the High Court in Stirling.

His victims included a woman in her 80s who lived in a residential home at Birnam, Perthshire.

He embezzled Agnes Forrest, who has since died, out of 150,102 between November 1990 and March 1993 while acting as her solicitor.

He was a partner at the law firm of A & R Robertson and Black in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, at the time.

Stocks and shares

He embezzled a further 87,875 between May 1991 and December 1998 while acting as a lawyer for a Perth-based firm, Picardie Ltd.

He also admitted illegally obtaining stocks and shares worth more than 240,000 while acting as a solicitor for Anne Jameson, of Bellsden, Kinloch, by Blairgowrie, between November 1993 and February 1999.

Hall, formerly of Stafford Street, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, was sequestrated in October 2000 at Dumbarton Sheriff Court.

He admitted a breach of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act by making false statements to an insolvency administrator.

He also admitted stealing a book by Robert Burns, "Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect," between October 1987 and February 1994.

The poet had written in names omitted in the text, which was published in 1787.



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