Leeds solicitor cheated his elderly client

Michael Rigg.
Michael Rigg.
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A solicitor has pleaded guilty to swindling a vulnerable old woman out of more than £51,000.

Michael Edward Rigg, 60, pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud by abuse of position when he appeared before Leeds Crown Court yesterday.

A judge warned him he faces being sent to prison over the offences.

Rigg, of Carlton Mount, Yeadon, admitted the charges, which took place between September 2007 and June 2011 while he was in a position of having power of attorney over Jessie Robinson.

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

The three charges relate to sums of £10,571, £13,502 and £27,415.

The court heard Rigg withdrew money without permission from her bank account which would otherwise have been used to pay for her nursing fees.

Rigg’s barrister Andrew Foley told the court: “The long and the short of it is he was using the money for his benefit.”

Rigg had claimed at one point that he was borrowing the money with the intent to pay it back.

Mr Foley said Rigg had pleaded guilty to the charges on a basis which the Crown Prosecution Service did not take exception to. The court heard Rigg was a beneficiary under Mrs Robinson’s will and was entitled to half of her estate which would have been a sum in excess of £50,000.

The case was adjourned four weeks and Rigg will be sentenced on March 22,

Mr Foley requested the adjournment to allow for a medical report as Rigg is suffering from a “severe” condition.

Judge Robert Bartfield granted Rigg unconditional bail until his next appearance. The court heard Rigg has no previous convictions and was of good character.

The judge told Rigg: “The purpose of the adjournment is so that medical reports can be obtained about you and also for the benefit of a pre-sentence report.

He added: “I have to warn you, the judge looking at your case will inevitably look at the issue of imprisonment first as a likely sentence.

“But that will be an issue for the judge on the day.”

The court heard Rigg will also face a separate inquiry under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

An online guide to legal services states Rigg has been a solicitor for 35 years.

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