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Woman who stole £1.3m from law firm bosses now has only a pitiful amount left to be confiscated

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Written by: Gloucester Citizen & Gloucestershire Echo | Posted 19 June 2017 6:33

Woman who stole £1.3m from law firm bosses now has only a pitiful amount left to be confiscated
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A Cirencester woman who stole nearly £1.3million from her law firm bosses now has assets of just over £6,000 to be confiscated from her under the Proceeds of Crime Act, a court heard today.

But her partner, who gambled away much of the money, still has £122,000 available for confiscation, Gloucester Crown Court was told.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC formally certified that Sandra Ribeiro, 41, and her partner Joao de Sousa, 45, both of St Michael's road, Cirencester, benefited from crime by £1,277,585.99.

He also certified that Ribeiro has assets of £6,016.78 for confiscation and de Sousa £122,687.17.

The court was told the assets include a property in their native Portugal which they bought for 80,000 Euros but which has not yet been sold despite de Sousa being prepared to give the police a power of attorney to dispose of it.

The judge ruled that if the property fails to sell for the sort of figure envisaged the confiscation figures can be adjusted.

At an earlier hearing when the couple were both jailed the court was told that Ribeiro took it from her employers, Residential Lawyers Ltd of Cirencester, and much of it was frittered away by de Sousa on Bingo and online gambling.

Claire Williams, director of Residential Lawyers, told the court the scale of the theft had badly hit the firm's reputation, delayed her retirement plans and increased her insurance costs by more than £50,000 a year.

Ribeiro pleaded guilty to stealing £1,277,585.99 between February 12, 2012, and August 15, 2015.

She also admitted a charge of possessing criminal property and converting it for her own use by paying it into her partner's bank account.

De Sousa admitted acquiring criminal property - the stolen money - knowing or suspecting it was the proceeds of crime.

Ribeiro was jailed for five years four months and her husband for four-and-a-half years.

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