A SOLICITOR has appeared in court accused of defrauding clients out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
It is claimed Robert Alan Cutty fraudulently transferred sums of cash totalling about £200,000 – ranging from £363 to more than £57,000.
These included large sums of cash from the estates of two people who had died.
The 62-year-old has now been charged under the Fraud Act with six offences of fraud by abuse of position, relating to four people.
All the offences are said to have taken place in Sunderland while Cutty was working with a city firm and some date back to 2003.
Cutty made his first appearance at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.
He spoke only to give the court his date of birth and an address of Neville’s Cross Bank, Durham.
Defence solicitor Gerry Armstrong confirmed his client would not be entering a plea to any of the six charges.
It is alleged on December 9 and 10, 2008, he defrauded £61,513 followed by £363 from client Jean Beavis.
On August 22, 2005, it is claimed Cutty obtained a money transfer for £52,567 from the estate of George Smiles by falsely claiming the money was for the beneficiaries of the Smiles estate.
And on December 23 of the same year, he is alleged to have done the same with £57,437 from the estate of Catherine Beaney.
He is also accused of defrauding Lena Robertson for £30,000, on October 8, 2003, after allegedly taking £3,000 on July 31.
Prosecutor Paul Doney told the court that the offences could be heard either by magistrates or at the Crown Court.
Magistrates declined and said they were too serious for them to deal with.
Cutty was granted conditional bail and ordered to live and sleep at his home address.
A second bail condition of reporting to Durham police station three times a week was dropped by magistrates.
Cutty will appear at the Sunderland court again in August, when the case will be committed for trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
A spokesman for industry regulator the Solicitors Regulation Authority confirmed that in accordance with its guidelines, Cutty’s case has been referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal service.
He also confirmed that Cutty is not currently a practising solicitor.
No tribunal is expected to take place until the criminal case against him has ended.