"He was always going to be caught."
A trainee solicitor who stole more than £100,000 to fund his gambling addiction has been jailed for two years.
Tauseef Sadeeq, aged 31, of Farnworth, Bolton, was working for Bolton-based Jacob Miller Solicitors when he began tricking insurance companies into paying money meant for clients into his own bank accounts.
Between February 2020 and March 2021, Sadeeq embezzled £100,437.13 across 20 bogus transactions.
The company was set up in 2019 and the losses were so severe, eight of its 24 staff were made redundant.
Bolton Crown Court heard the scam involved Sadeeq diverting money from insurance companies – which should have been paid into the law firm’s client account, into his own accounts.
Prosecutor Colin Buckles described the scam as “particularly unsophisticated”, adding:
“He was always going to be caught.”
Sadeeq was soon confronted by the firm’s management. He admitted to stealing money and was fired.
In a statement, Jacob Miller director Hasib Khan told the court that the Covid-19 pandemic meant the firm was already suffering “crippling losses” and the scam meant that eight staff members had to be laid off.
Mr Buckles said: “Mr Khan notes how the case concerning the defendant has been widely reported and that the reputation of the firm has been damaged.
“A number of clients of the firm who became aware of the defendant’s actions removed their business and instructed new solicitors.
“Mr Khan also notes that obtaining new business has been difficult due to the impact upon the reputation of both the firm and himself as a solicitor.”
Oliver Jarvis, defending, said Sadeeq was “deeply ashamed and deeply remorseful”.
He said: “He makes no excuses. He realises he has damaged the reputation of the firm.
“He has thrown away his career and ripped his family apart.”
“He developed a gambling habit, built up debt and desperately tried to chase the money he had lost. With the help of his family he had finally stopped gambling.”
Judge Martin Walsh said the crimes were a “considerable and gross breach of trust”.
He said: “This was a concerted fraud, calculated and unsophisticated, but pursued over a period of time.
“The consequences of the fraud were considerable. Not only was there a fiscal loss, but the firm also suffered reputational damage.”
After pleading guilty to 20 counts of fraud, Sadeeq was jailed for two years.