Leeds solicitor took £50,000 from elderly client

Michael Rigg.
Michael Rigg.
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A SOLICITOR has been warned he may face a jail sentence after he admitted taking more than £50,000 fraudulently from an elderly woman’s accounts.

Michael Edward Rigg pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court yesterday to three charges of fraud between September 1, 2007 and June 13, last year.

The 60-year-old admitted in the charges that while having power of attorney for Jessie Robinson he withdrew money from her accounts.

The first charge involved £10,571.68, the second £13,502 and the third offence £27,415.

Power of attorney is when someone is granted written authorisation to represent or act on another’s behalf in private affairs, business of legal matters.

Mark Foley, representing Rigg, told the court he was a beneficiary under the lady’s will entitling him to half her estate which would have been a sum in excess of £50,000.

“Effectively what has happened is that he has withdrawn the money, without recourse to her, which otherwise would have dissipated by paying her nursing fees.”

Mr Foley asked for sentence to be adjourned for the defence to obtain a medical report on Rigg. He said the solicitor was a man of previous good character but “has got quite severe medical conditions”.

Rigg, of Carlton Mount, Yeadon, Leeds, a solicitor for more than 30 years, was remanded on unconditional bail after Judge Robert Bartfield agreed to the request and also ordered a pre-sentence report from the Probation service.

He told Rigg: “I do warn you the judge looking at your case will inevitably look at the issue of imprisonment first, as the likely sentence, but that will be an issue for the judge on the day.”

David Garnett, prosecuting, said a proceeds of crime application would be pursued.