Lawyer jailed for £700k fraud against customers

Manchester Crown Court

Manchester Crown Court

A woman who abused her position at solicitor firms to fraudulently gain more than £700,000 has been jailed.

Caprice Chaneele Lindo, 40, was sentenced to three years and six months in prison at Manchester Crown Court.

She pleaded guilty to money laundering and eight counts of fraud at a previous hearing.

Lindo began working for a solicitor’s firm in Leigh in October, 2013, on a short-term contract and was tasked with handling a client’s purchase of a property.

On 13 October 2013, she transferred £151,090 from the client’s account but changed the payee to an associate in the Huddersfield area.

The transaction was later traced to Lindo, of Brookwater Drive, Shipley, Bradford, as each member of staff could only access files using their own unique code.

On 18 November 2013, Lindo began working for a solicitor’s firm in Stockport, where she was responsible for handling a conveyancing case involving the sale of a client’s property in West Sussex.

Lindo called the client to confirm the sale had been completed, but the client later called the firm to query why the £215,248 he was expecting had not been transferred.

A manager at the firm investigated and found a forged handwritten note which Lindo had written asking the client to send the money to a different account, which belonged to another of Lindo’s associates. Later the same manager received a call from a subsidiary of Nationwide Building Society to say they had received a formal document from the firm asking for £108,456 to be transferred to an account.

Enquiries showed the firm had no connection to the bank account or the email address. The account belonged to another of Lindo’s associates. Further analysis showed another formal document was sent by Lindo to Nationwide requesting for £244,950 to be sent to an associates account.

Following extensive enquiries, police arrested Lindo in March 2014. In total, her fraudulent activities amounted to £719,744 and the total loss at this time is £225,459.75.

Det Con Shaun Nicholls, of GMP’s Fraud Investigation Team, said: “This was an audacious string of crimes where Lindo shamelessly abused her positions of trust and responsibility.

“Her selfish actions caused customers, colleagues, and other organisations undue stress and confusion, and determined efforts are still being made to ensure all the money is returned to its rightful owners.”