A man who defrauded an elderly relative out of over £35,000 after being given responsibility for her finances has now been sentenced.

The man aged 60 was sentenced on Friday 21 January 2022 after pleading guilty to an offence of fraud by abuse of position at an earlier hearing at Poole Magistrates’ Court.

He was sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for 2 years, with a requirement to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the community as well as take part in a rehabilitation activity programme. He was also ordered to pay £400 in costs.

Dorset Police received a referral from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) in August 2017 following concerns raised over the defendant abusing his position after he became legal deputy to his elderly aunt in June 2015. His aunt, who was in her 80s, had been suffering from cognitive impairment from the end of 2014 and was no longer able to manager her own financial affairs.

The man had his power of attorney terminated in December 2017 following an application by the OPG. Very sadly, his aunt passed away in July 2019. 

An investigation carried out by Dorset Police, with support from the OPG, revealed that between January 2015 and the end of 2017, the defendant abused his position to defraud his elderly Aunt to the value of more than £35,000.

He obtained funds from the victim’s bank accounts, either by withdrawing cash or making cheque payments to himself and also used her debit cards for payments that investigators could find no evidence of being in the interests of his aunt.

A number of payments were made while he was out of the county and the financial investigation also revealed cash being paid into the defendant’s bank account on the same day it was withdrawn from the victim’s account.

At Tyto Law we recommend that all our clients, regardless of age, prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney. These documents are often associated with old age, but they can also provide key protection for you and your family/loved ones should you be involved in an accident. We all hope they will never be required, but if the worst happens your family/loved ones will have everything they need to care for you.

Preparing a Lasting Powers of Attorney ahead of time will allow you to decide who is appointed to act on your behalf. If you do not have Lasting Powers of Attorney s and then lose mental capacity, your family and loved ones may need to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order, whereby the Court chooses who to appoint on your behalf. This is a more costly process and removes the ability for you to choose who you want to act on your behalf.

Careful consideration should be given to the range of powers you wish to give your attorney –  we can help clients appoint attorneys and ensure that the wording in a power of attorney is sufficiently precise to protects their interests.

We can come to you, in the privacy and convenience of your own home, to discuss Wills, Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

We can explain why they are important and suggest ways that you can put steps in place to give you peace of mind for the future. 

By drafting a Will, Lasting Powers of Attorney or setting up Trusts, not only will your wishes be carried out as you would like but you can also protect your family and friends from costly and stressful legal disputes. Please contact us on 01724 642 842 or by email on [email protected].