A solicitor has been jailed for stealing almost ?100,000 from clients to compensate others he had failed.
Jeremy Langworthy, 48, of Abergavenny, admitted taking money from accounts to make up "acceptable" compensation sums for other clients.
Prosecutor Michael Mather-Lees told Merthyr Crown Court: "Langworthy was effectively robbing Peter to pay Paul."
He was jailed for 18 months after admitting seven charges of theft totalling ?99,400 and one of forgery.
The court was told Langworthy was unable to admit to clients he had failed in negotiating adequate payments to them in a series of compensation cases.
He wrote cheques and put misleading information on cheque stubs in order to keep his clients under the impression everything was going well
Prosecutor Michael Mather-Lees
He stole from other clients to make up the balance - taking almost ?100,000 over seven years to cover his incompetence.
Mr Mather-Lees said: "He was unable to face conflict or negotiations and was unable to come up with figures acceptable to his clients.
"So Langworthy withdrew money from other clients accounts where he had been given executive power of wills.
"In all his offending, Langworthy was merely covering his own incompetence.
"He wrote cheques and put misleading information on cheque stubs in order to keep his clients under the impression everything was going well."
The court heard Williams Beale and Co solicitors in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, spent almost ?80,000 investigating to find money that went missing.
Jailing Langworthy, Judge Eleri Rees told him: "The real gravity of the offences is the effect on public confidence in the legal profession.
"The impact on your firm in particular is extremely serious.
"The firm diligently tried to uncover your misbehaviour. You carefully covered your tracks but not carefully enough.
"You did this to cover your own professional incompetence.
"For a solicitor to behave like this, prison is the only appropriate sentence."