Jail for Wiltshire carer who stole £42,000 from vulnerable mum
A FRAUDSTER stole £42,000 from her sick mother – splurging the ill-gotten gains on a holiday to Cyprus and Netflix.
A Swindon court heard that swindling daughter Claire Ball had saved just £200 in compensation.
Her mum, who is in her mid-70s, said she had been left with just £4 in her Post Office account and felt humiliated when she had to borrow cash for the first time in her life.
In a statement read to the court the woman said: “I know I’ll never get any of the money back but it isn’t necessarily about that. It’s the betrayal I can’t get over.”
Ball was this week jailed at Swindon Crown Court for two years and nine months.
A carer for her mother, who has multiple sclerosis, the 49-year-old helped manage the woman’s financial affairs after the death of the her dad in 2015.
Ball siphoned off £42,000 over three years. The money was used to pay rent on her Marlborough home, council tax, a £5.99-a-month Netflix subscription, gaming apps, the People’s Postcode Lottery and a £570 package holiday to Ayia Napa. There was evidence that Ball withdrawn money from her mum’s accounts at ATMs in Cyprus in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The swindler even tried to cover her tracks by hiding her mum’s bank statements.
The fraud only came to light in June 2018 when the victim was contacted by home security firm Homeline to say she had not paid her bill.
Prosecuting, Colin Meeke said: “She couldn’t work out why. She should have had plenty of money in her account.
“She contacted her cousin who took her to the banks and post office and so on and it was found there was a good £40,000 adrift.”
Interviewed by police, Ball denied involvement: “When confronted with direct payments she blustered and dissembled and simply refused to acknowledge she had done anything wrong.” She had even claimed – falsely – that her mum was confused in an apparent effort to throw detectives off the scent.
Ball, of Chiminage Close, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position.
Richard Williams, defending, said his client suffered from poor health and if jailed could lose her housing association home which she shared with her husband. She regularly looked after two grandchildren.
“She herself has found the proceedings quite difficult. They have been weighing heavily on her,” he added
She had saved a modest sum – just £200 – towards compensating her mother.
Jailing Ball, Judge Jason Taylor QC told the defendant: “She depended on you to help her out and helping her out as a carer involves trust and you abused that trust by steadily stealing funds effectively to the value of £42,00.
“It is wrong to think this was just to do with the necessities of life.
“The items that were being bought were the icing on the cake and it was being paid for by your mother’s money and you were covering up your activity by hiding her bank statements.”
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