Lawyer cleared of £730,000 gold swindle

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A West Yorkshire solicitor has been cleared of charges he helped to cheat a sixth-form college out of £730,000 to buy gold bullion.

Andrew Wormstone was found not guilty after less than two hours at the Old Bailey of two charges involving the concealment and transfer of funds.

Wormstone received money from Oldham Sixth Form College meant for a builder and was arrested after he transferred the funds to another account used to buy gold. The 43-year-old, of Ashworth Road, Pontefract, denied concealing criminal property of £2,634, and transferring criminal funds of £730,000 last year.

He told the court he had been acting in good faith on behalf of a client who contacted him by phone to arrange a loan transaction.

Wormstone told police he retained £2,634 for his fees and had not suspected anything was wrong.

Martin Hooper, prosecuting, said the money was sent to Wormstone’s law firm Velocity, in Leeds, after the college received a letter claiming its builder had changed its bank account. After two days, most of the funds were transferred into an account of a “Mr Marshall”, who has never been traced and who might not exist, the court heard.