Bermuda: Lawyer Jailed For Stealing Clients’ Funds

(CMC) – A High Court judge has sentenced a 37-year-old lawyer, Tyrone Quinn, to 15 years in jail after he was found guilty of stealing almost half a million US dollars from his clients.

Justice Juan Wolffe said Quinn had exploited the good nature and close relationship he had with one of the victims and had taken advantage of a senior.

“He did so at a time when the victims were experiencing excruciating physical pain and mental anguish,” the judge said.

A jury had returned a unanimous verdict against Quinn in November last year on three counts of theft totalling US$483,000 from compensation payments to three of his clients.

Quinn had said he fully intended to repay his victim, but the High Court was told that this never materialised.

In addition to a 15-year prison sentence, the judge ordered a confiscation inquiry under the Proceeds of Crime Act to determine what assets could be seized to offer compensation to the victims.

“This is a sad, sad case. You have individuals who underwent insurmountable pain as a result of an accident and that pain continued unabated through the actions of the defendant.

“The fact that they are still having to go through the pain, needing the money that is rightfully owed to them for surgery needed to remedy the pain is unconscionable,” Justice Wolffe said, adding that written reasons for the sentence would be handed down in due course.

During the trial, the High Court heard that between May 2020 and February 2021, Quinn received awards on behalf of three clients in separate legal matters. Of the three clients, two received a small portion of their award, while the third received nothing.

Quinn admitted in court that he had received the funds for the clients but said he had no intention of permanently depriving them of the money.

He told the court he had been approached by two men in 2019 over a “problem” related to an illegal business transaction and that they had demanded compensation.

Quinn said he did not know the men or their “problem” but he complied with their demands after they threatened him and his family, paying them thousands of dollars and making a range of payments on their behalf.

He admitted that he had also used the funds to make payments unrelated to the threats or the clients but maintained that he had always intended to give his clients what they were owed.

Last month, prosecutor Alan Richards, said Quinn had “robbed Peter to pay Paul”, noting that he had admitted using some of the complainants’ awards to pay other clients.