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Former Fulbright Partner Handed Jail Term for Stealing From Firm
Former Fulbright & Jaworski partner Graham Simkin has been sentenced to 16 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges of false accounting and fraud.
Simkin, who resigned from the U.S. firm's London office in September 2008, and his wife Zakia Sharif, who was dismissed as an office manager by the firm in the same year, have admitted to stealing as much as £100,000 from the firm in false expenses claims. Sharif has also been sentenced to 16 months.
An initial hearing was held in May 2011, with Simkin struck off the Solicitors Regulation Authority register two months later.
During this first hearing Simkin admitted to the charges, while Sharif pleaded not guilty before later changing her plea in all but two of the seven charges after being told she could face a prison term.
Sharif had falsely claimed she had two law degrees from King's College London to secure her job at Fulbright, and after being dismissed from the firm took a position at Holman Fenwick Willan. She has since been barred from working as a legal executive.
A spokesman for Fulbright said: "A former employee and a former partner in the firm, both of whom left in early 2008, have each been sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment for stealing from the firm.
"Where those with responsibility for ensuring the enforcement of safeguards are secretly married and are themselves dishonest, no system in the world is failsafe. However, no client ever suffered any loss. The firm now regards this matter as closed."
The news comes after former Hogan Lovells litigation partner Christopher Grierson appeared before the City of London Magistrates Court in January after being charged with four counts of false accounting after allegedly defrauding his former firm of £1 million in false expenses claims.