Thieving solicitor Gareth Arnold spent stolen £200,000 on cars and surgery for girlfriend
A SOLICITOR who stole more than £200,000 from his clients spent his spoils on luxury cars and surgical procedures for his girlfriend.
Of the £204,202 Gareth Arnold took, £174,202 belonged to a Robert McCloy who had suffered a significant brain injury in a road accident and had been awarded £300,000 compensation.
He was badly affected by that accident and Arnold was trusted with his finances. Instead, he used the money to fund a failed start-up of his own law firm, buy a Jaguar and a Mercedes, fund his day-to-day life, pay off loans and spend £8,000 on surgery for his girlfriend.
Arnold had been a partner in his father’s firm Arnolds Solicitors in Swansea and worked as a consultant for Sheehans in Neath.
After being declared insolvent, he asked his sister to help him set up bank accounts for his new Cardiff firm called AM Law but instead used them to house Mr McCloy’s money transferred into those.
He originally had sums of between £8,000 and £20,000 transferred to him from the Court of Funds but when he discovered the “game was up” he managed to get Mr McCloy’s remaining £130,000 sent to him.
Arnold admitted five counts of fraud at Swansea Crown Court.
Judge Paul Thomas commended Mr McCloy’s social worker, Andrea Miles, who repeatedly raised concerns about Arnold’s conduct and said she acted with “great initiative” and courage to report Arnold.
Arnold, aged 40, of no fixed address but formerly from Llandeilo, had also conned another man, Nicholas Thomas, out of £30,000 by using money Mr Thomas had entrusted to him in a property sale. He used that to fund a shortfall in another business deal for a house sale in London.
Matthew Roberts, for Arnold, said he had lost his wife and contact with his children and family since his arrest and said his professional career lays in tatters.
Sentencing him to four years in prison, the judge said Arnold he had acted cynically and ruthlessly.
He said he had taken money from Mr McCloy which was intended to make his “shattered life as comfortable as such compensation could”.
“You were entrusted to look after that money, to look after his interests but you decided that money, rather than be spent on him and his needs, would be better spent by you on your expensive cars and extravagant lifestyle and to impress your girlfriend.”
“That this would have had financially devastating effect on Mr McCloy appears to have been of little, if any consequence to you as was the inevitable emotional impact upon him, as if he did not have enough burdens to carry,” he added.
“In this case, Gareth Arnold, the financial loss is very significant, the human cost however, is immense.
“You have sullied the reputation of your profession and more importantly you have compromised the reputation of both your father and your sister, bringing undeserved shame on them through no fault of their own. The reason was, quite simply, greed.”