Solicitor jailed for stealing £340,000 from dementia patient

·2-min read

A solicitor has been jailed for six years for stealing £340,000 from an elderly client with dementia.

Stephen Acres, 58, was a joint executor for the legal affairs of the "vulnerable" woman from 2013 to 2016.

He used a debit card issued to him by the victim's bank to withdraw more than £340,000 over three years.

Acres, of Watford, spent the money on goods, petrol, and restaurants - none of which was for his client's benefit.

Acres, a solicitor at a law firm in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, also used the victim's money to pay off his debts.

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Huntingdon Law Courts and Employment Tribunal offices situated on the ring road.
He was sentenced to six years in prison at Huntingdon Law Court on Thursday. (Getty)

Acres admitted to creating a false deed of variation to make it appear that the victim had consented to him taking £225,000 from her.

He denied stealing additional money - around £115,000 - but was found guilty by a jury on 25 March after a trial at St Albans Crown Court.

He was sentenced to six years in prison at Huntingdon Law Court on Thursday.

The offences first came to light when Acres paid off a personal debt to another solicitor using a cheque that belonged to the victim’s bank account.

In 2016, the Solicitors Regulation Authority dismissed Acres from the roll of solicitors after an investigation into his behaviour.

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DC Liz Heath, of Hertfordshire Police, said: “Stephen Acres was trusted to safeguard the finances of a vulnerable and elderly woman suffering with dementia.

"However, once the other attorney passed away, it gave Acres free access to the victim’s account to use it as though it were his own.

"He stole large sums of money from her, in order to pay off debts as well as towards a lifestyle, and despite claiming to have the intention of paying it back, he made no attempts to do so.

"He just continued to spend the money of an elderly woman, who had worked hard her whole life, and had believed he was there to do the right thing by her.”

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