Con-artist jailed for targeting OAP during community service

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By Michael MacLeod

A GREEDY fraudster stole £2,500 from an 83 year-old woman – while she was supposed to be looking after her as part of her community service.

Jane Richardson, 52, was doing unpaid work at an elderly day-care unit as punishment for a previous fraud conviction.

But she “gave in to temptation” after a frail pensioner asked her to get money from a cash machine for her.

Richardson sneakily kept hold of her bankcard and remembered the woman’s PIN number.

She used the card a shocking 33 times to pocket £2,500 in cash, Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard today (Wednesday).

Richardson, who was in a “financial crisis,” wept into a tissue as she was led to the cells to begin a four and a half month jail sentence after admitting theft.

She was only caught when a manager at the Edinburgh elderly care home noticed the huge sums of cash missing from the victim’s account.

History of dishonesty

Fiscal depute Aidan Higgins said: “It would appear the accused came to know the victim of this offence whilst carrying out a community service order.

“This was in relation to another crime of dishonesty involving fraud.

“The 83 year-old victim gave the accused the card and PIN number on January 23 last year and the initial withdrawal of £300 was made.

“On that occasion she did give the money to the elderly lady.

“But it was thereafter that she made these regular withdrawals, keeping the money for herself.

“It came to light because a manager of the centre where the accused was working with this lady saw her bank statements and became suspicious.”

Richardson’s solicitor Paul Dunne said jailing her would “do nothing to repay the victim.”

No option but jail

He said: “It is a serious offence while in a position of trust, there is no getting away from that.

“But she is 52 years old and one wonders whether she poses a real risk to the general public.

“A custodial sentence will do nothing to repay the victim.

“She realises she has taken this woman’s money and knows this is not just some sort of wheeze.”

Jailing Richardson, Sheriff Deirdre MacNeill QC said: “She had a plan.

“She was in a financial crisis with rent arrears to pay but she didn’t pay her arrears with the money.

“She just used it to buy things.

“I consider this a very serious offence.

“This woman was a vulnerable victim and you, while doing a community service order for fraud, used your position of trust to your advantage.

“There is no other sentence that can be passed other than a prison sentence.”

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