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Solicitor sentenced to three years for embezzlement
Former solicitor Valerie Macadam was today sentenced to three years’ imprisonment at Edinburgh Sheriff Court for embezzling £130,000 of client funds.
Sentence was reduced from four years for an early guilty plea. Macadam took money from the bank accounts of clients and life savings of others as she handled their wills, stealing from five clients in total over a period of six years.
Macadam had been banned from practising as a solicitor in 2004 following a Law Society of Scotland investigation.
Breaches of accounts rules and discrepancies in client accounts were uncovered during an inspection by the Society of her firm Macadams SSC. This led to an application to the court to appoint a judicial factor to the firm in December 2003 to protect the firm's clients, and the suspension by the Society of Macadam's practising certificate.
Following a prosecution by the Society, she was officially struck from the roll of solicitors on 1 September 2005 by the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal after being found guilty of professional misconduct. This could not be made public at the time because of ongoing criminal proceedings.
Philip Yelland, the Law Society of Scotland’s director of standards, said: “The Law Society of Scotland acted to protect the firm’s clients and Ms Macadam has not been able to practise as a solicitor in Scotland since 2004.
“Solicitors are trusted to handle millions of pounds of client funds each year. Honesty and integrity are absolutely paramount within the solicitors' profession. Those who are suspected of stealing from clients will be investigated and, if they are found to be acting dishonestly or fraudulently, strong action will be taken against them, both by the Society and the courts.”