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Solicitor used £500,000 from client account to fund gambling addiction

A solicitor who used £500,000 of money in his firm’s client account to feed his gambling addiction has been struck off.

Over a period of nearly five years, Kam Cheung Mak – who had been a partner at East London firm MKM Solicitors – made 204 transfers totalling £511,618 from client to office account and transfers to his personal bank account.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ruled that his actions were dishonest: “The tribunal was sure that ordinary decent people would find a solicitor who took money in the circumstances that the respondent had and had recorded transfers in a suspense account and who had not been absolutely sure that the money was his was dishonest. … The misconduct was serious and was repetitive. There were times when the amount held in client account was virtually zero and less than the amount of client monies that should have been held at the time. … [Mr Mak] had guessed at the amounts he could take and had taken a cavalier approach to the SAR [Solicitors Accounts Rules] and client money. He had benefited in that he was able to access monies to fund his gambling habit. He used the money as his own and was able to access funds with no notice and without exceeding his overdraft limit.”

(Source – Legal Futures website)