Community service for legal worker guilty of £5000 fraud

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An employee at top legal firm Maclay Murray & Spens, who embezzled more than £5000 while working at its office in Edinburgh’s George Street, has been ordered to do 166 hours of community service for what a sheriff described as “a significant breach of trust”.

Thirty-three-year-old Karen Ward of Comely Bank Avenue, Edinburgh, had pleaded guilty previously to embezzling £5505.09 between March 10, 2010, and July 19 last year. Sheriff Neil Mackinnon had deferred sentence for background reports.

Defence solicitor Cheryl Beattie told Sheriff Mackinnon that cheques for the total amount taken had been sent to the company three months ago and had been cashed within a couple of days.

Ms Beattie said the social work report highlighted the debt problems Ward had experienced leading up to and during the time of her offending, and added that Ward had since repaid the money.