Money launder dad spared jail

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THE DAD of a dishonest solicitor who swindled £214,000 from clients was spared jail for his part in her crimes.

Robert Johns (57), of Low Road in Wyberton, received a year-long prison sentence which has been suspended for 18 months after admitting to a charge of money laundering and converting criminal property. He also faces 160 hours’ unpaid work.

The sentence was handed out by Lincoln Crown Court on Monday because of his part in his daughter’s fraud.

Jacquelina Laverick (32), from Lodge Way in Grantham, who practised under her maiden name of Jacqui Johns, was jailed for three years in January after stealing £214,000 from clients including her own grandmother’s inheritance.

She was the head of the wills and probate department at the Grantham Chattertons office and spent the money on a deposit for a second home, a Jaguar car and to pay off household bills.

Her dad admitted being paid £1,500 after recruiting his friend, 58-year-old Laurence Bell, to accept a £25,000 cheque from the solicitor. Mr Bell received just £500 for his role in the transaction after paying £23,000 back to Laverick.

Johns also pleaded guilty to a second charge relating to building services paid for by money from his daughter.

Graham Huston, mitigating for Johns, said he had recently received a redundancy notice from his job as a print engineer and had not been involved in instigating his daughter’s fraud.

Baz Bhatia, mitigating for Bell, told the court he was a ‘kind and well respected’ qualified electrician who had now lost his good character.

Stuart Loady, mitigating for Jacquelina’s husband Steven (35), told the court he was now the sole carer for the couple’s two-year-old son.

The judge accepted he was involved in laundering just a small amount of the cash.

Judge Sean Morris said: “Each of you to a certain extent took advantage to enrich yourselves. But the villain of the piece was a member of the legal profession who brought it into disrepute.

“I have heard a lot about Jacquelina Laverick or Jacqui Johns as she was known. It sounds like she was a plausible and devious individual. Nevertheless you were all grown men and knew what you were doing.”

Earlier this year Mr Laverick, who works for Rolls Royce, was found guilty of a single charge of converting criminal property relating to £10,000 paid into his bank account.

Mr Laverick, of Lodge Way, Grantham, was convicted of a charge of converting criminal property. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered to complete 200 hours’ unpaid work.

Bell, of Ninth Avenue, Forest Town, Mansfield, admitted a single charge of entering a money laundering agreement. He was sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered to complete 80 hours’ unpaid work.

Mrs Laverick, of Lodge Way, Grantham, had admitted 10 charges of theft involving a total of £214,870 and two charges of converting criminal property. The offences took place between December 2005 and June 2009.