A solicitor, Alison Haley Griffiths, 55, has been sentenced to 24 months in prison after confessing to committing two counts of fraud by abusing her position, as reported by The Law Society Gazette.
Griffiths, who practiced in Swindon, admitted to unlawfully taking approximately £49,000 from a 94-year-old woman for whom she held power of attorney. The illicit activities spanned over two years and involved transferring funds from the victim’s account to her own, as well as making significant cash withdrawals.
The case came to light in 2021 when Griffiths disclosed her theft to her firm, prompting a police investigation. Subsequently, a second instance of fraud emerged, involving an 80-year-old man whom Griffiths also exploited under her power of attorney. She redirected around £35,000 into her personal account. The second case was reported to the police after the victim’s care provider informed the family of insufficient funds to cover care expenses. Unfortunately, the victim passed away in May of the previous year. DC Dominic Maidment of Wiltshire Police told The Gazette:
“These are two awful situations where Griffiths has taken advantage of her position and stolen tens of thousands of pounds from two vulnerable adults, one of whom is sadly no longer with us.
As power of attorney, Griffiths was expected to safeguard the finances of the victims and act on their behalf in their best interests. Instead, she has abused their trust by transferring significant sums of money from their accounts into hers, meaning that in one of the cases, there was no money to pay for the victim’s care.”
Admitted to the roll in 2003 with no current practising certificate, Griffiths now faces disciplinary proceedings from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) following her conviction.