Former Worthing councillor jailed for 18 months

EX CLLR MERK O'KEEFFE  LEAVES WORTHING MAGS COURT AFTER PLEADING GUILTY OF �70K FRAUD

EX CLLR MERK O'KEEFFE LEAVES WORTHING MAGS COURT AFTER PLEADING GUILTY OF �70K FRAUD

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A FORMER Worthing councillor has been sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to major financial fraud.

Mark O’Keeffe, 41, of Trent Road, Goring-by-Sea, who had run a legal consultancy firm, admitted theft of £70,000 from one of his clients, which had been intended for use in a property portfolio.

The sentencing for the ex- Castle ward Conservative, who had also stood as a Liberal Democrat, was heard by Lewes Crown Court on Friday, January 18. He pleaded guilty at the initial hearing of the case last November at Worthing Magistrates’ Court.

This came in the wake of separate proceedings against O’Keeffe, in which he had been barred from practising as a solicitor – for which he had no qualifications.

It had involved a Solicitors Regulation Authority report, which banned him from all legal work after finding that while working as a process server for several firms, he had left sensitive case documents at his former property. He had claimed to be a solicitor from a company named Baker and Co.

There will be further proceedings against O’Keeffe in March to arrange confiscation of property.