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Legal secretary stole from employer

PUBLISHED: 09:09 26 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:51 03 July 2010

A TRUSTED legal secretary stole more than £48,000 from the firm of solicitors where she worked because of her mounting debt problems, a court heard.

Nicola Ludlam, 40, worked for a partner ay the Yarmouth solicitors' firm of Chamberlins and had been with the firm for 23 years, Norwich Crown Court heard on Friday .

A TRUSTED legal secretary stole more than £48,000 from the firm of solicitors where she worked because of her mounting debt problems, a court heard.

Nicola Ludlam, 40, worked for a partner ay the Yarmouth solicitors' firm of Chamberlins and had been with the firm for 23 years, Norwich Crown Court heard on Friday .

She started stealing cash from the firm over a two-year period and her thefts were discovered when a discrepancy was noticed by a member of staff.

Stephen Poole, prosecuting, said she was suspended while a full investigation went on involving checking a number of complicated estate files.

The matter was then reported to the police and led to Ludlam being arrested.

Ludham, of Manor Road, Yarmouth, admitted theft, two offences of obtaining by deception and five fraud offences. The court heard she planned to pay back all the stolen £48,580.

Jailing her for 12 months, Judge Simon Barham said she took advantage of her position to transfer money to her personal account.

He accepted the money was not spent on high living but to pay her debts but said: “These offences were in breach of trust both to your employers and their clients.”

Michael Clare, in mitigation, said she had already paid back £3,600 and had arranged to pay the balance of all the money back.

He said she got herself in huge personal debt and succumbed to temptation.


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