A disgraced financial adviser who stole more than £500,000 from wealthy and vulnerable clients is facing five years behind bars.
Stephen Smalley, 49, even stole from his own father-in-law who suffered senile dementia.
The senior financial adviser creamed the money from the accounts of wealthy clients he thought would not notice the cash was missing, pocketing the interest to save up for his own retirement.
But his deception was uncovered when he tried to leave Forbes solicitors and paperwork was not put into place.
Preston Crown Court heard branch manager Winston Hood confronted Smalley about the lack of progress in the handover of files and evidence of a single £14,000 transfer Smalley had made to himself.
Smalley initially said the extent of his deception was in the region of £20,000 but he later came clean to stealing £524,440.
Judge Graham Knowles, sentencing, told Smalley: “19 years ago you were employed by one of the best known firms of solicitors in this county and a long established firm as well.
“You rose to become head of the team of financial advisers dealing with the investments of wealthy clients.
“Nine years ago you set about stealing money from them.
“You did this in a triple breach of trust. - that of your employers and colleagues, that of your clients and that of your father-in-law.”
The court heard all the money Smalley had stolen, including £70,607 from his father-in-law, has now been recovered.
Judge Knowles said: “You led a good life on a good salary but you wanted more, or at any rate to live with less effort.
He jailed Smalley, of Rowe Lee Park, Blackburn, for five years.