Former Gloucestershire coroner admits £2million fraud
4:20pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
POLICE who investigated crooked coroner Alan Crickmore for two years have today welcomed his admission of a £2million fraud against clients of his law firm.
He plundered money from the estates of clients who had died when he was the executor of their wills.
And he took money which he was holding on trust for clients involved in financial transaction,
Crickmore, 57, who has been the Gloucestershire coroner since 2005, was “using clients’ money as his own personal piggy bank,” said the detective who brought him to justice.
"Putting it simply he was using his clients' money to finance his own lifestyle," said Detective Chief Inspector Dave Sellwood of Gloucestershire Police.
He spoke after Crickmore pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown court today to 24 offences of fraud, theft and abuse of his position as a solicitor.
He was released on tagged curfew pending sentence on November 28.
Soon after his appearance he resigned his post as Gloucestershire coroner.
Detective Chief Inspector Sellwood added "This has been a meticulous and thorough two-year investigation by Gloucestershire Constabulary that followed an investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
"We are pleased that now, having been faced with overwhelming evidence, Mr Crickmore has acknowledged his guilt to 24 of the 25 charges put to him.
"We will now await sentencing on Thursday 28th November."
The charges against Crickmore, of East Approach Drive, Cheltenham, followed a police investigation launched in January 2011 after the Solicitors Regulation Authority raided the offices of his law firm in High street, Cheltenham.
He was barred from practising and all his files were seized for investigation.
However, he has remained Gloucestershire coroner throughout the investigation and, it is understood, has continued to be paid his £60,000 a year salary although inquests have been conducted by his deputy David Dooley and other assistants.
Crickmore had been practising law for 30 years. At the time of his arrest he drove a Jaguar with the personalised registration plate AC54 HMC.
He was a director of the trust which runs the St Edward's independent school in Charlton Kings.
However, he was made bankrupt following his arrest although he has since had the bankruptcy discharged.
Crickmore became deputy coroner for Gloucester in 1990 and took over as the city coroner in 2002.
In 2005, he also took on the role of the coroner for the Cotswolds and combined the two jobs to become the first coroner to cover the whole of Gloucestershire.
The charges he admitted in court today were six counts of theft, seven of fraud by abuse of position and one of fraud between 1999 and 2011.
The Court was told he stole the money in a “frenzied attempt” to balance the books at his law firm, Alan C. Crickmore.
Four of the fraud charges relate to him abusing his position as the executor of the estates of dead clients between 2007 and 2011.
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