Lawyer, 66, who stole £280,000 from dead pensioner’s estate then sent half to his cash-strapped ex-wife and lavished £55,000 on his ‘excessive lifestyle’ is struck off
- Lawyer Andrew Eastham, 66, has been struck off for taking £280,000 from deceased pensioner’s estate
- He spent over £55,000 on an ‘excessive lifestyle’ and sent his ex-wife £150,000
- Solicitor paid £7,500 estate’s rightful beneficiary but took the other £279,000
A lawyer jailed for fraud has been struck off for taking £280,000 from a deceased pensioner’s estate and sending more than half of it to his cash-strapped ex-wife.
Andrew Eastham, 66, spent over £55,000 enjoying an ‘excessive lifestyle’ and sent his former spouse almost £150,000 after swindling his late client’s funds.
The solicitor paid just £7,500 to the estate’s rightful beneficiary but fraudulently took the remainder of the estate – totalling £279,000.
£120,000 was withdrawn in cash and nearly £5,000 was paid to different debt companies, a solicitors tribunal heard.
Andrew Eastham, 66, (pictured) spent over £55,000 enjoying an ‘excessive lifestyle’ and sent his former spouse almost £150,000 after swindling his late client’s funds
But police grew suspicious as Eastham – who qualified in 1980 but didn’t hold a practising certificate at the time – was making huge payments and withdrawals despite not having a source of income.
Now the disgraced lawyer has been struck off.
Blackpool-based Eastham was made an executor of pensioner Eric Woolfeden’s will in the early 1990s while a practising lawyer.
Mr Woolfeden, of Blackpool, died in May 2014 – when Eastham didn’t have his practising certificate – and his estate belonged to the contingent beneficiary, his niece Elaine Price, who was 77 at the time.
At Wolverhampton Crown Court (stock image) he admitted fraud by abuse of position and was jailed for 32 months in October 2017
But instead of transferring Ms Price the money, a total of £279,462 was paid to Eastham’s accounts and his ex-wife’s.
Ms Price received just £7,500 and contacted police after Eastham stopped communicating with her.
At Wolverhampton Crown Court he admitted fraud by abuse of position and was jailed for 32 months in October 2017.
Now, a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has struck him off and ordered him to pay £2,355 costs.
The tribunal ruled his conduct was ‘dishonest’ and ‘severe’.
‘Mr Eastham’s dishonesty involved abusing his position as executor’, a tribunal report said.
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