Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland solicitor Early accused of £250k fraud on clients

By Paul Higgins

A solicitor was yesterday ordered to stand trial accused of stealing more than £250,000 from various clients, including the wills of the deceased.

Appearing at Newtownards Magistrates Court, 53-year-old Elaine Mary Early confirmed she was aware of the 18 charges against her.

Early, from the Killinchy Road in Comber, faces 12 counts of fraud by abusing her position as a solicitor, five counts of transferring criminal property and one count of theft, all alleged to have been committed between September 2014 and February 2016.

While the single count of theft accused Early of stealing credit from various clients amounting to a total of £261,916, the charges of transferring criminal property relate to Early allegedly transferring a total of £134,750 to her own account, the account of her now defunct firm and to the accounts of clients she allegedly defrauded.

She is accused of abusing her position as a solicitor in order to defraud various clients, two of them deceased, of funds which she allegedly transferred to her own accounts or between accounts of other clients she allegedly defrauded.

Sending the case to Downpatrick Crown Court for trial, District Judge Paul Copeland released Early on her own bail of £750.

Belfast Telegraph

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