Bent solicitor jailed over £1.2 million theftHe stole from client who'd been paralysed in crash

08 April 2008

The scales of justice held up

The increase in the small claims limit is good news for Scottish consumers

A bent solicitor has been jailed for ten years after enjoying a life of 'obscene extravagance' on £1.2 million he stole from a disabled client.

'Arrogant and greedy' Thomas McGoldrick, 59, stole the money from Keith Anderson, who was paid £1.8 million damages after being left a quadriplegic following a road crash.

He forged a letter claiming Mr Anderson 'gifted' him the money, and used the cash to live the high life of exotic holidays, fine wines, fast cars, private education for his children and a £750,000 family home.

Stolen

The victim was 'wrecked and devastated' after finding out his money had been stolen - and was left in debt.

McGoldrick also created false accounts for his firm, McGoldricks, based in Croydon and Altrincham, 'grossly exaggerating' his profits to get money on 13 credit cards and 33 loans.

He was convicted of 59 counts of fraud in February after, the judge said, lying his way through a six-week trial at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester.

Breach of trust

Passing sentence yesterday, Judge Roger Thomas QC, said it was the 'very worst breach of trust' for a solicitor to steal from his client.

He added, 'It is right to point out you did not stint yourself on your lifestyle.

'Mr Anderson was living in limited circumstances, while you, with his money, were content to live the sort of life you had lived before.'

Debts

McGoldrick ran up debts totalling £3 million, but saw his chance when his firm took on the case of Mr Anderson, a van driver from Jamaica.

He was left paralysed from the chest down and quadriplegic after the accident in Croydon in November 1996.

When he was awarded the damages in May 2001, McGoldrick drew up a forged letter allegedly from his client which 'gifted' him half the money.

Belfast-born McGoldrick, who qualified at the University of London in 1973, in fact went on to take around £1.2 million of the cash.

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