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27 months for solicitor thief

27 September 2006

A 41-year-old solicitor has been jailed for 27 months after stealing £70,000 from his disabled client.

Iain Catto of Edinburgh pled guilty to taking the money over two a year period from 2002 to fund his lifestyle, after losing his job as a solicitor. He befriended 59-year-old Frances Fleming who had been partially paralysed following an assault and offered to look after his finances.

Catto withdrew sums of up to £11,000 from the criminal injuries payout Mr Fleming had received. The bank statements were sent to Catto's house to cover up the crime.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, Sheriff Kathrine Mackie was told by Catto's solicitor Fiona MacDonald that Catto, a former Conservative member of Lothian Regional Council, had already sold a flat to repay what he stole from Mr Fleming.

Ms MacDonald said Catto had taken the money to maintain his lifestyle because he could not admit to his family that he had been sacked.

Sheriff Mackie said the crime had been a gross breach of trust and labelled his actions as callous.

Catto now faces a hearing before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal and is likely to be struck off.