A 68-year-old grandmother who defrauded families of millions of pounds to fuel her insatiable thirst for wealth has been sent to jail by a British crown court.
The grandmother, also a mother of two, is one of the highest paid and most reputable lawyers in Britain.
This quiet, seemingly kind and modest lawyer won the hearts and trust of nearly 100 families riven with grief and stole MILLIONS from them to fund her exotic lifestyle.
Linda Box, 68, is one of the most crooked lawyers ever and her sentencing to seven years in jail, brought to light so many more crimes in her cupboards.
Diminutive in build and so humble, the grandmother who slipped quietly in and out of Leeds Crown Court looked like nothing of the “Gangster Grandmother” the British media is calling her but instead looks more like an ageing, middle-class lady …very ordinary indeed.
As the heavy sentence was passed on her by the court, robbing her of the best part of her fading years, Mrs. Linda Box, steel grey hair perfectly combed, sensibly dressed in a neat black outfit and low-heeled shoes, looked remorseful and so helpless but the onlookers, most of whom where her victims knew better.
Due to her kindly character and seemingly modest nature which is reflected in her mode of dressing, Linda Box has now been labeled “Gangster Granny’ and ‘Britain’s most ruthless grandmother’.
Facts of how she has been abusing her honorary position as an ex-president of the Law Society, using it to steal more than £4 million from grief-stricken families have come to light but the police reckon the true nature of her crimes reaches way back in time and could be more in the neighborhood of£12 million.
All that money funded an extravagant lifestyle so shocking it has been termed ‘almost unprecedented’. Linda Box, despite the modest dressing and nature, didn’t live the modest life of a family Lawyer but that of a rich mafia don hence the tag ‘Gangster Grandmother’.
The Leeds Crown Court heard how Linda Box spent thousands of pounds on designer clothes and full outfits – some never worn but stored away complete with their price tags still in place, expensive vintage wines, extravagant holidays for her family and friends in the most exotic places in the world, spent £800 a night staying at The Ritz Hotel during a crazy shopping sprees at Harrods, she even gave her sons an expensive pleasure boat that cost a whopping £100,000.
Following these discoveries, the SRA, the legal body investigated the case, now believes the true extent of Linda’s fraud stretches for over a decade and may be more in the region of £10 million, but the police think it’s far worse. Nonetheless, by this process, the evil grandmother has ruined the lives of no less than 75 families who came to her for assistance following the death of loved ones who left behind complicated wills and estates.
Ironically, being such an expert at the handling of wills and estates, coupled with a rare sensitivity and warmth, Linda Box set herself apart from legal colleagues. She was held in such high esteem that other top lawyer referred clients to her and at a point in her career she even acted as lawyer to the Church of England and handled huge sums of money on behalf of the wealthy Bishop of Wakefield.
It has now been discovered that she defrauded the Church, the Bishop, and four vicars. Also coming to light is her theft of the proceeds from the sale of a convent.
It came out in court that Linda Box has spent over £3 million using American Express cards alone while her sons had a free ride on Harrods cards.
Her victims described Linda as the perfect Lawyer, kind and warm and motherly. Her office was filled with photos of her family making people see her as a true friend in time of need. So perfect was her deceit that most of her victims didn’t even see her white lies for what they were.
Linda Box’s Career.
Linda started her career in exemplary fashion.
She did her studies at Liverpool Law School before going to work at the 200-year-old Wakefield law firm of Dixon, Coles and Gill back in 1971. By the year 1979, Linda Box was a partner in that law firm, commanding a salary of no less than £100,000.
She got married to Richard Box, who ran Eric F Box, a funeral directors firm and they had two sons, Andrew, 39, and Edward, now 41, both in the family business.
Going by all accounts, Linda Box was well respected and liked. Part of her job was to sell off the assets of dead clients, such as properties and estates. The money got paid into her law firm’s client account and from there went to the beneficiaries of the will – or that was the theory at least.
So unfortunate. One wonders what lessons a child can learn from this granny. I’m mean she had to have something to offer since she had high social standings.
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In addition to her legal work, Linda was Chancellor for the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, as well as legal adviser to the wealthy Bishop of Wakefield …. this was until 2005, two years after she started her fraud scheme.
For some unclear reason, no one thought Linda’s extravagant tastes or the affluent lifestyle of her family suspicious.
Linda drove a state-of-the-art Jaguar, took her family on expensive holidays to the Amalfi Coast, gave her sons an expensive Sunseeker motor boat, paid off mortgage bills of friends and sent her granddaughter to an expensive private school.
According to one eyewitness, Linda’s private collection of vintage wine was worth £800,000 but her secret store of designer clothes was worth more, and then there were the expensive lunches she had regularly at city restaurants – Linda was known at the restaurants to be a good tipper.
How Linda Was Caught
It wasn’t until December 2015 that a flaw was found in Linda’s scheme.
On Christmas Eve, Julian Gill, Linda Box’s partner at the law firm, found an irregular payment to another law firm and followed it up. This led to the discovery of several other irregular payments, all from their client account to individuals not listed as legal beneficiaries.
Gill called in the police, who made the connections and nailed the fraud. The deception found was to the tune of £4,055,329, and of this, £63,000 belonged to the Bishop of Wakefield – it was funds dedicated to education and ministerial training.
When confronted, Linda Box reportedly admitted to the crime, claiming she never thought of the consequences to her partners or family and then things got to the point where she didn’t even know how to stop. She often bought several designer clothes of the same kind and never even wore them, she said.
She claims to have sort help from some General Practitioner after she recognized her obsession for what it was.
In her official confession to the police Linda Box said she was ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’.
Neither her family or partners were charged.
The victims testifying in court, they were several.
One couple, heartbroken as they testified, said they hadn’t received a single penny from their late son’s properties and estate after Linda Box took it over.
Their son, Tom, was a well-paid Oxford graduate who worked as a consultant to the government. He passed away two years ago while in his 40s, following an illness.
Tom was in the process of selling one property and buying another when he died, the couple told the court. This made his estate complicated and so they went looking for legal help. Linda Box was introduced to them as the perfect lawyer who even did work for the church. She was to be trusted, and trust her they did.
Tom’s mother told the court how Linda consoled her as she cried in Linda’s office which had photos of her family everywhere, making people feel more at home. They handed everything over to Linda.
Next thing they knew, all the money and estate was gone including the 150,000 pounds paid by the government as Tom’s death benefits. Linda Box told them Tom was in debt.
Yet another victim stepped up to tell the court how he has been fighting to find out exactly what happened to the estate of his close relative after Linda took it over.
For 50 years his relative built and ran a successful small business that saw her save up £250,000 by the time she was 80 and forced to enter a nursing home due to dementia.
Her saving was to pay for her needs, but after Linda Box was given power of attorney, the money literally vanished.
Following her sentencing of seven years in jail yesterday, Linda Box’s own properties and estate are now forfeit.
Next month, a Proceeds of Crime hearing will determine how her assets will be sold to raise enough money to compensate her victims.