Two partners in a London firm have admitted failing to properly supervise an employee who misappropriated almost £130,000 from clients.
Gary Josephs and Roy Cowie, who continue to practise at Nelsons based near London Bridge, said a senior conveyancer who had worked at the firm for almost 40 years was a 'trusted member of staff who required limited supervision'.
They told the SRA the unadmitted person had implemented a 'sophisticated scheme' that prevented detection of his actions.
In total he had misappropriated £129,830.92 between 2005 and 2012, relating to 66 client matters.
The employee was suspended by the firm on 9 March 2012 and subsequently his employment with the firm was terminated. He has since been made subject to an order controlling his future employment in entities regulated by the SRA.
Cowie and Josephs replaced the misappropriated monies in full and said no complaints were received from clients.
In separate agreements published yesterday by the SRA, Josephs and Cowie each admitted three rule breaches:
- Rule 6 of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998 and Rule 6 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, failing to ensure compliance with the rules by the principals themselves and by everyone working in the practice/employed by the firm.
- Rule 7 of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998 and Rules 7.1 and 7.2 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, failing to remedy any breach of the rules promptly upon discovery and to promptly replace any money improperly withheld or withdrawn from a client account.
- Rule 22(1) of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998 and Rule 20.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 in that money was improperly withdrawn from a client account.
Each partner was rebuked and fined £1,000, as well as paying £1,192 costs to the SRA within 30 days.
Cowie and Josephs have also agreed to the publication of the agreement and not to deny the misconduct set out in the admission.