The Supreme Court has confirmed the sentence of 6 years and 3 months in prison imposed on a labor lawyer who appropriated the 225,000 euros of compensation for unfair dismissal recognized by the social jurisdiction to a client of his.
In the sentence, the Criminal Chamber ratifies the ruling that condemned the lawyer for a continued crime of misappropriation aggravated by the value of the fraud -4 years and 3 months in prison and a fine of 7,875 euros- and continued crime of falsifying official document by individual –2 years in prison and a fine of 6,775 euros–. In addition, it condemns the lawyer to return 227,900 euros plus interest to his client.
The client contracted his services for an unfair dismissal
According to the proven facts of the judgment of the Court of Barcelona, subsequently confirmed by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia, in 2012 the victim contracted the professional services of the accused labor lawyer in order to file a claim for unfair dismissal and extinction contract against your company. The courts – first the Social Court, then the Catalan TSJ and finally the Supreme Court – ratified the unfairness of the dismissal and ordered the company to pay compensation of 202,213 euros.
After winning finality in the sentence, the Court issued in October 2015 an order to return the 202,213 euros – that the company had consigned to be able to appeal on appeal – in favor of the worker, who delivered to the defendant, and in December of the same year settled interest on the principal of the compensation, which amounted to 25,703.30 euros, issuing another return order for that amount in favor of the worker and delivered to the lawyer.
“I keep the amounts obtained”
The lawyer now sentenced, according to the account of the facts, “kept the amounts obtained through the repeated orders, which he collected directly or through another person or persons whom he entrusted with the collection process.”
In addition, “in order to delay as long as possible the arrival of the client’s knowledge of the collection of the amounts recognized in his favor in the sentence, (the defendant) explained to him a series of procedural vicissitudes that he presented as impediments to payment, reinforcing his explained by handing over photocopies that they said were documents from the Labor Court”.
These files, however, “were not”, and the photocopies, “made by him or another person at his request, made reference” to the alleged presentation of an appeal for amparo before the Constitutional Court with suspension of the payment of amounts until the resolution thereof.
He invented documents “to cover up his action”
The Supreme Court, in a ruling presented by magistrate Pablo Llarena, considers that the assessment of the evidence carried out by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia is “correct and reasonable” when it concludes that it was the defendant who collected the two payment orders issued in favor of of his client in view of the documentary evidence.
The court also clarifies that, “the crime of forgery not being a crime of his own hand, it is irrelevant whether it was the appellant who made the physical preparation of the photocopies or whether he entrusted the making to another person.”
“The accreditation that the defendant appropriated the funds paid to his client, shows that the documents infer that he must have been the one who entrusted or addressed the making of the photocopies to justify to his client why he should not deliver the funds” , detail the sentence.
For this reason, the Supreme Court rejects the appeal of the convicted lawyer except for the penalty of a fine corresponding to the crime of documentary falsification, since the Court imposed an amount -13 months at a rate of 25 euros of daily quota- that was above what was requested by the prosecutor and the private prosecution, which violated the accusatory principle. Thus, it imposes a penalty of a 9-month fine with a daily fee of 25 euros for this crime, maintaining the rest of the convictions and pronouncements.