Legal Futures reports
A solicitor struck off for “outrageous plundering” of the assets of an elderly client suffering from dementia has now been jailed for six years.
The judge said Stephen Acres, 58, was entirely motivated by his own needs, with little concern for his victim.
Mr Acres, then a partner at Stanley De Leon Solicitors in Hertfordshire, became a joint deputy for the affairs of one of his elderly clients, along with a relative of the client, due to health concerns.
In 2013, following the death of the relative and now with sole control of his client’s affairs, Mr Acres began taking money from the victim’s bank account.
He used a debit card to withdraw money between 2013 and 2016, spending it on goods, petrol, restaurants and the like for his own benefit. Mr Acres also transferred money to his personal bank account as well as to another person’s account, which was then funnelled back to him. In all, more than £340,000 was stolen.
According to Hertfordshire Constabulary, the offences first came to light when Mr Acres paid off a personal debt to another solicitor using a cheque that belonged to the victim’s bank account and applied to the ledger of the victim.