Jailed solicitor disqualified

A solicitor has been struck off after duping clients into believing she had won their cases.

Erica Wilding lost cases and then forged court orders, plucking massive sums from one unwitting client to pay another.

In total, she transferred £347,000 to cover the lies she had told clients.

One unsuccessful litigant was told he had won his case and was owed £53,000. The money was paid from other clients' accounts, the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal heard.

Her supportive mother even mortgaged the family home to pay back the sums taken by her daughter, who made no personal profit.

Wilding was jailed last November for nine months after admitting four counts of forgery and three of theft. Eight other matters were considered.

Last week, she appeared before the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal wearing an electronic tag on her ankle, following her early release from prison.

She told investigators she lied because she suffered a “terrible guilt complex” whenever anything went wrong.

Wilding, who was a partner at Fuller Hay in Esher, Surrey, was struck off after admitting conduct unbefitting a solicitor.

Fuller Hay was dissolved in August last year. Partner Kevin Fuller was suspended indefinitely from practising after the Law Society alleged he was “vicariously” liable for his partner's fraud. Fuller admitted three allegations of conduct unbefitting a solicitor in relation to breaches of accounting rules.