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'Abuse of Trust' Irish solicitor who was 'Lawyer of the Year' jailed for taking almost £30k from OAP

Julie Ann Harrigan (36), originally from Donegal, transferred more than £29,000 from an elderly woman's bank accounts into her personal account over a two-year period.

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A general view of a close up of the hands of an elderly woman (Peter Byrne/PA)

A general view of a close up of the hands of an elderly woman (Peter Byrne/PA)

A general view of a close up of the hands of an elderly woman (Peter Byrne/PA)

An award-winning Irish solicitor has been sent to prison after stealing thousands from a pensioner.

Julie Ann Harrigan (36), originally from Fahan in Co. Donegal but working in Jersey for around a decade, fraudulently transferred more than £29,000 from an elderly woman's bank accounts into her personal account over a two-year period.

She also took more than £18,000 from a deceased lady’s estate, which was bequeathed to charity, by transferring it to the pensioner’s account and withdrawing it.

Harrigan, who was named Junior Lawyer of the Year by the Law Society of Jersey in 2016, made 46 transactions of between £200 and £2,000 from October 2015 until September 2017 into her own account.

On two occasions, she attempted to right her wrongs by transferring money back into the pensioner’s account - making a payment of £1,000 in 2015 and then £100 in 2016 - but then continued to take more money.

A police investigation began in April 2018 after she was dismissed from her law firm, Collas Crill in Saint Helier, due to “suspicious activity” in relation to one of the estates managed by Harrigan.

She returned to Ireland and was due to voluntarily return to Jersey in March 2020 but failed to do so.

She re-entered the country in September 2021, where she was immediately arrested and remanded in custody.

Pleading guilty before the court in Jersey, Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit said: “This case involved a breach of trust at the top of the spectrum in terms of seriousness.

“It involved numerous fraudulent transactions over a two-year period. The defendant jeopardised a future career for dishonest conduct seemingly motivated by greed.

“It is hard to envisage circumstances that would amount to a more severe abuse of trust.”

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Harrigan’s recommended three-year-nine-month sentence was reduced to three years and she was ordered to repay Collas Crill £28,250 in compensation.

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