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Nancy Vieira tells court she did not mislead anyone over loan

Nancy Vieira, a lawyer, has denied charges that she dishonestly obtained a $50,000 money transfer.

A lawyer accused of dishonestly obtaining a $50,000 loan for a client yesterday denied that she had misled anyone about the purpose of the loan.

While prosecutors suggested that Nancy Vieira had lied to her client, the late Kirsten Badenduck, by saying she wanted the funds to become a partner at a law firm, Ms Vieira said that it was her honest intention at the time.

She told the Supreme Court she only asked to use the money for a mortgage six months later after the bank threatened to foreclose on her home if they did not receive $250,000.

Ms Vieira said: “In June I was advise that we were having issues with the mortgage and as I was advised by our attorney to gather $100,000 for the mortgage for negotiation purposes.

“The bank had said they wanted $250,000 or they wanted to foreclose on the property.”

Ms Vieira claimed that the mortgage was not in arrears either when the loan was accepted in December 2015 or in July 2016, when the borrowed money was put towards the mortgage, adding that legal proceedings about what happened were ongoing.

But Nicole Smith, prosecutor, said records indicated that no payments were made on the mortgage between October 2015 and July 2016.

The defendant responded that she understood that payments had been made, but she did not see such transactions on the document provided.

Ms Vieira, from Pembroke, has denied charges that she dishonestly obtained a $50,000 money transfer from Ms Badenduck between January and July 2016.

She has also denied allegations that she stole $28,615 from Ms Badenduck – who died in 2019 – through unauthorised ATM withdrawals and $7,601 through unauthorised debit card transactions between August 2015 and October 2016.

In a police interview recorded before her death, Ms Badenduck said she had loaned Ms Vieira $50,000 to cover a buy-in so she could become a partner at MacLellan and Associates.

However Jacqueline MacLellan, the head of the firm, said no such offer had ever been discussed and Ms Vieira had been warned that she was at risk of being fired.

As the trial continued, Ms Smith questioned Ms Vieira on how she expected to be given a junior partnership when Ms MacLellan, had told the court that she had warned her about her work.

Ms Vieira said that at the time she had just successfully handled a major case for the firm and the warning came months later when she had a difficult time catching up on work after a period of illness.

She also maintained that she had been told the best approach would be to put herself forward for the partnership with between $50,000 and $75,000 on hand for a buy-in.

However, Ms Smith suggested that usually partnerships are offered by existing senior partners to those with years of exemplary work, with a buy-in based on the value of the firm.

Ms Smith also suggested that the defendant never told Ms Badenduck the money would go towards the mortgage, noting that the complainant had made no mention of the mortgage in her police interview.

She also noted that Ms Vieira herself had not mentioned any change of purpose for the funds when confronted about the loan by Ms MacLellan in November 2016.

Ms Vieira responded that she had simply answered the questions asked to her.

“Ms MacLellan asked me questions and told me to leave,” she said. “She asked me if I had borrowed the money, and I said yes.

“She asked if I had borrowed the money for a junior partnership. I said yes. Then she told me to leave.”

Ms Vieira also broke down two bank drafts that she delivered to MacLellan and Associates in December 2016 — one for $15,000 and the other for $25,000.

She said the larger draft was intended to repay half of the loan, while the second covered several other reimbursements.

Ms Vieira said that the $15,000 payment was intended to cover cash withdrawals she had made from Ms Badenduck’s account to pay for a new passport for Ms Badenduck, a new work permit for one of her caregivers and opening a new bank account.

She said despite taking out money to accomplish the tasks, none were completed.

Ms Vieira said the money was also intended to include $798 to reimburse Ms Badenduck for a stay at the Hamilton Princess that she had accidentally used her card for.

She said the remaining funds from the draft — almost $10,000 — were meant to go towards the repayment of the loan, and that she had presented a letter to Ms MacLellan detailing what the funds were meant to reimburse.

However, Ms Vieira said she did not have a copy of the letter herself and had not questioned Ms MacLellan about the letter on the stand.

Asked why she did not put all of the money intended for the loan on one draft and the disbursements on the second, she said: “I didn’t do it that way. I did it this way.

“That’s how I did it and my letter to Ms MacLellan broke it down.”

The trial continues.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.