Former Auckland lawyer struck off for theft, overcharging

by Sol Dolor24 Feb 2017
A former Auckland lawyer has been struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors for misappropriation of client funds and overcharging a client.

Warren Richard McFie has admitted to embezzling $237,014.24 of client funds and overcharging a client by $42,417. The 65-year-old had initially faced up to seven years in jail for theft. He was recently sentenced by the district court to 12 months home detention and 150 hours of community service.

According to the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal, McFie had consented to being struck off. He surrendered his practicing certificate in 2015. His lawyer also said that he was truly remorseful and accepted that he should face the consequences of his conduct.

McFie had sold his house and the proceeds were retained by the New Zealand Law Society to make most of the amount available for repayment to clients. The tribunal has also ordered McFie to refund the client he overcharged over a 17-month period the full amount he owed. The Law Society has ordered the former lawyer to pay $5,350 in hearing costs.

“Misappropriation of client money goes to the heart of the relationship of trust which is essential between lawyers and their clients. There is no excuse when that trust is breached,” said Kathryn Beck, Law Society president.

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