A FORMER solicitor from Northumberland who represented the region on a national legal body is facing charges of committing a £15,000 fraud against it.
Frances Louise Brough, of Shilbottle near Alnwick, is charged with fraud in relation to her time as a Northumbria representative on the Law Society’s governing body.
Brough, 40, a personal injury lawyer who used to work at a firm in Hexham, is facing 19 counts of fraud relating to her two years as a member of the Law Society Council.
She is charged with making fraudulent claims totaling £15,890.24 in amounts ranging from £59.20 to £1,536.99, in 2010 and 2011.
Brough, who lives at North Side in Shilbottle, has appeared at Southwark Crown Court in London, with the case having previously been listed at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
She was due to enter pleas on Wednesday, but the hearing was adjourned for the Crown Prosecution Service to make amendments to the indictment.
Brough was bailed to come back to the court on March 19. She registered as a lawyer with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) 12 to 13 years ago, its spokesman said.
Since then, she has worked at nine SRA-registered firms, including Ward Hadaway and Ramsey Robinson personal injury specialists’ Hexham office from 2008-9.
Brough served as a member of the society’s council from September 2009 until December 2011, representing the Northumbria constituency. A society report from June 2009 shows she was a candidate to join the council as a civil litigation representative while working at Hexham.
The society represents solicitors in England and Wales, and the council is responsible for its main policy decisions and overall direction.
She was taken to have resigned from the council having missed three meetings in succession in 2011, a year in which she was not employed at any firm registered with the SRA.
A spokesman for the law society said: “We take the issue of expenses fraud very seriously. Following a Law Society internal investigation, this matter was passed to the police and the SRA. The individual in question has been charged and has appeared in court.”
The Journal tried to contact Brough at her home yesterday for comment, but there was no answer.