A lawyer was convicted of defrauding a client of 30,000 euros to simulate payments to judges and prosecutors

A lawyer was convicted of defrauding a client of 30,000 euros to simulate payments to judges and prosecutors

The Supreme Court has confirmed a two-year prison sentence for a lawyer from Alicante who ripped off to a client of his convicted of fraud and convinced him to pay more than 30,000 euros, making him believe that he was going to use the money, among other things, to pay "judges" and "prosecutors", according to the sentence, and free him from jail. The judges reject the appeal of the representation of the lawyer Ernest Armada and now the courts will have to decide if he goes to prison to serve his sentence. A sentence that also disqualifies him from practicing as a lawyer and that the Prosecutor's Office supports for the "lack of scruples and ethics in the exercise of a profession as worthy and essential for the system of freedoms as the legal profession."

The sentence of supreme court, to which elDiario.es has had access, explains how the victim was a man who in 2011 had been sentenced to a year and a half in prison for owing 100,000 euros to a reform company in Dénia. He had hired them to do work on various apartments in an urbanization and they never received what he owed them for the work. The Justice decreed his entry into prison. It was then that he contacted this lawyer from Alicante to try to avoid going to jail and the lawyer gave him the solution: he needed thousands of euros to make payments to "judges-court" and "prosecutors-prosecutor's office" with the aim of freeing him from prison.

The convicted fraud had unknowingly turned to another swindler. The different witnesses, according to sources in the case, did not fully understand what was happening and he did not give more details of what he wanted the money for. Some understood that it was to pay bail, others to record it in the Provincial Court of Alicante and some did understand that it could be money for a bribe. He said that he wanted to make payments to "judges" and "prosecutors" but he did not give more details: he always spoke "without specifying their concept," according to Justice. The money, in fact, went to his account at Bankia.

The different payments came out of the pocket of his relatives while he remained in search and capture. The first disbursements totaled 7,500 euros, but he was arrested shortly after in Almería. The second payment was 3,000 euros and did not prevent his entry into prison. The third payment made by his family was 20,000 euros and did not translate into any benefit either. Moreover, in much of this process he did not even have the permission to represent his client as a lawyer in court. Meanwhile, he tried to reassure his relatives with lies: he told them that he was going to be released from prison that same week, that he had obtained a pardon and even that they had replaced his prison sentence with work for the benefit of the community. in Orihuela.

The family, after disbursing more than 30,000 euros without seeing results, consulted with other lawyers who told them that they were being deceived. Finally, several of them appeared at the Provincial Court of Alicante, where the officials revealed to them that everything the lawyer had told them was a lie. He then left his defense and another lawyer from the province took over the case not only to manage the execution of his client's sentence, but also to direct legal action against the swindling lawyer.

The proven facts explain how he asked for thousands of euros from his victim and his relatives. He did it, according to the Supreme Court, "alluding that with said amount he had to face a series of payments, such as Judges-Court, Prosecutors-Prosecutor's Office, without specifying their concept." They paid, say the judges, acting with "the firm and erroneous conviction that by paying the amounts requested they would avoid imprisonment." Throughout the process, explains the Supreme Court, he has tried unsuccessfully to convince the judges that the money he received "was not intended to bribe judges and prosecutors, but was due to a regular activity."

The Supreme Court has confirmed the sentence imposed in the first instance by the Court of Alicante and ratified by the Superior Court of Justice of the Valencian Community: two years in prison for a crime of fraud, in addition to a fine of 1,260 euros and disqualification to practice as a lawyer during the time of the sentence. Sources of the case explain to this newspaper that it is not the only process that remains open for similar events, accused of defrauding more clients.

The criminal chamber of the Supreme Court, with Ángel Hurtado as rapporteur, rejects all the arguments of his appeal and confirms his sentence, which is awaiting the execution phase without the victims having recovered their money and once the client he scammed has already served his entire prison sentence for the scam. The defendant, among other things, was trying to convince the court that the amounts he received responded to a real activity as a lawyer but, as the judges of the Valencian Community said, they were "amounts that are totally exorbitant considering the actions carried out carried out by the accused in the repeated execution".

The lawyer was also fighting his sentence of disqualification from practicing as a lawyer. The judges answer that it was imposed "before a circumstance as obvious as that the convicted person used his legal profession to perpetrate the crime for which he has been convicted," they explain. They also endorse the arguments with which the Prosecutor's Office challenged their appeal in this regard: "What is prohibited is that whoever has shown that lack of scruples and ethics in the exercise of a profession as worthy and essential for the system of freedoms as the legal profession cannot exercise it during the time of the sentence".

He also demanded that his sentence be reduced due to delays in the process. The sentence reveals that at first the judge decided to file the case but that it was reopened after the appeals of the accusations and, finally, he was tried in January 2020 at the Alicante Court. "Even accepting that the processing could have been more agile, what cannot be considered is that the delay was undue, since in its course there was a certain intermittent procedural activity that prevents us from appreciating, even as simple, the mitigating factor that is postulated ", says now the Supreme.

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