A CROOKED lawyer with a £13,000 plus designer shoe collection has been ordered to pay back less then half of the £4m she plundered from a Wakefield law firm to fund her addiction to high living.
Linda Box, 68, was jailed for seven years in March after Leeds Crown Court heard she stole from client accounts at Wakefield-based Dixon, Coles and Gill.
Her crimes forced the 200-year-old business to close.
Box was back in the dock at Leeds Crown yesterday for a proceeds of crime application hearing.
Judge Penelope Belcher said that Box had gained £4,085,058 through her crimes.
Judge Belcher ruled that Box must pay back £1,943,045 within the next three months or she will have to serve a further eight years in prison following the end of her current sentence.
She agreed with the prosecution’s valuation of £13,750 for Box’s collection of 110 pairs of designer shoes.
Judge Belcher said the bulk of Box’s offending related to misuse of clients’ accounts by making payments to members of her family including her two sons, her sister and the family-run business Eric F Box Ltd.
Dixon, Coles and Gill was forced to close in January 2016 after an investigation into Box’s schemes were unearthed by her work partner Julian Gill with ‘irregular payments’
Box was a senior partner at the historic firm and abused her position to fund a lavish lifestyle for herself and close family members. She also took advantage of her role as a “pillar of the church” when she was registrar with the Diocese of Wakefield. Some 75 individual client files, many involving estates of deceased, and ten files relating the church showed misappropriation.
Detective Inspector Dan Tillett of Wakefield District CID, said after the hearing: “Box led an extremely lavish lifestyle of five star hotel breaks, luxury holidays and extravagant spending which saw her purchase a holiday home in the Lake District.
“Despite already having what many would view as a very highly paid role as a solicitor, her greed saw her defraud and steal from very vulnerable people, including recently bereaved families, to fund this spending.
“Our specialist financial investigators have worked very hard to uncover the complex web of Box’s frauds and identify assets purchased during her criminality.
“We are delighted to have secured such a large confiscation against her today which should help ensure she will not be able to benefit any further financially from her criminal behaviour.
“I hope those defrauded by Box will take some further comfort from knowing she now faces this significant confiscation, on top of the prison sentence she is now serving.”