Solicitor’s practice manager admits mortgage fraud

Doreen Ward pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to two counts of committing fraud by abuse of position between 16 April and 1 August 2007, BBC Northern Ireland has reported.

Ward, who was practice manager for Kearney Sefton Solicitors in Belfast, was released on continuing bail and will be sentenced next month after probation reports are compiled.

Ward fraudulently falsified a document in connection with a remortgage of a property in Glengormley by omitting a registered second charge on the property. As a result she was refunded £40,356.54.

The court said that through her actions Ward had put Kearney Sefton Solicitors "in jeopardy of a further financial loss under their Professional Indemnity Insurance in the sum of £18,000".

A further charge of fraud by abuse of position on dates between August 2009 and October 2010 outlined how Ward fraudulently obtained cheques that were then lodged into her account.

Following the guilty pleas, the prosecution asked for 26 other similar charges to be "left on the books".