Hove legal secretary Leanne Harris jailed for £500k theft

Leanne Harris outside Hove Crown Court
Image caption Leanne Harris took £419,000 from one of her victims

A Sussex legal secretary who stole almost £500,000 has been jailed for four years and nine months at Hove Crown Court.

Leanne Harris, 25, took the money to fund a "frivolous and extravagant spending spree", the court was told.

One of her victims was an elderly woman over whom she had power of attorney, the court was told.

Harris, from Whitesmith, near Lewes, worked at Arscotts Solicitors in Hove from 2008 until last year.

Harris admitted five counts of fraud carried out between November 2008 and May 2010.

The court heard she wrote cheques in the name of a Mr Harris, taking more than £419,000 from one client.

She also admitted stealing £64,815 from another woman between August 2007 and April 2010.

Det Con Valerie Henwood, from Sussex Police, said: "Harris caused considerable grief to many people by her selfish and dishonest actions.

"She contributed to the closure of a long-standing family firm with a loss of 30 jobs."

A Sussex Police spokesman said Arscotts' insurance company had already started a civil action against Harris and had seized her assets.

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