A solicitor has been jailed for stealing £43,450 left by dead clients in their wills.
Alan Benstock, a former deputy coroner, used the money to fund his daughter’s private education, cover family medical bills and pay the mortgage on his home in Chapel Allerton, Leeds.
The 51-year-old admitted nine charges of theft over a four-month period in 2006.
He had set up a charitable trust into which he paid the money from three dead clients’ wills. He did not register the trust with the Charity Commission and kept it secret from colleagues.
The court heard how Benstock had lost his job at a Wakefield law firm, his home, and was divorced by his wife after the thefts came to light in 2007.
Rabbi Daniel Levy, of Leeds’ United Hebrew Congregation, was among those who gave references on Benstock’s behalf.
Jeremy Barnett, defending, said Benstock had been living beyond his means.
He was jailed for 22 months at Leeds Crown Court on Monday.