A former lawyer who embezzled £120,000 from a pensioner suffering from dementia and living in a nursing home has been jailed for two years.
John Sinclair, 69, of Aberdeen, stole the money from the woman, who was in her nineties, after being named her power of attorney in 2014.
He tried to cover up his crimes by falsely insisting she had given him permission to transfer money to himself from her accounts.
But his dishonesty was uncovered by colleagues at the law firm where he worked. They, in turn, referred the matter to a lawyer at another firm who then alerted the Law Society.
The Law Society’s own internal procedures resulted in the police being called in.
Sinclair was sentenced at Aberdeen Sheriff Court after being found guilty following a trial last month.
The court heard how staff at James and George Collie Solicitors in Aberdeen became suspicious after a cashier detected an unfamiliar account linked to the woman’s finances.
Sinclair’s office was subsequently searched and a £66,000 tax demand from His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs was discovered.
After being confronted, Sinclair repeatedly deleted computer entries in an attempt to defeat the ends of justice.
The court heard that he also provided officials at the Law Society with a note written by himself saying he had authority to borrow money from her accounts.
But the note was never signed by his elderly and incapacitated victim.
Alison McKenzie, Procurator Fiscal for Aberdeen, said: “This was a brazen and egregious betrayal of trust by a lawyer who took advantage of his position to embezzle money from an elderly lady who had dementia.
“John Sinclair carried out a calculated and heartless deception on someone who was mentally incapacitated.
“This conviction shows that prosecutors will seek to secure convictions without fear or favour to expose criminality by those who work in the justice system.”