March woman behind bars for stealing £10,000 from elderly couple - she was caught spending cash on scratch cards and gambling vouchers
PUBLISHED: 17:08 24 October 2019
A March woman who stole more than £10,000 from a vulnerable elderly couple and was caught out when she spent the cash on scratch cards and gambling vouchers has been jailed for two years.
Deborah Green, of Deerfield Road, befriended the couple who were in their 70s in 2017, as she lived close by.
The 56-year-old began doing gardening work for the pair, who were both vulnerable due to their mobility and ill health. They were also fairly isolated and lived in a different village to their family.
Over time Green became 'friends' with the couple, who lived in March, and gained their trust. She began visiting their house almost daily and buying shopping for them after the mobility scooter they used got a puncture.
After a few months the pair considered Green a friend and felt they could trust her, so when she suggested they should give her their bank cards to make it easier for her to do their shopping and save them the trouble of getting cash out, they did.
During this time the couple also separately had to go into hospital, but trusted Green with their cards while they were being cared for.
Between January and March last year, Green made regular visits to cash machines using their bank cards and withdrew a combined total of more than £10,000 without their consent.
Staff at Green's local Co-op store became suspicious after she purchased a very high number of scratch cards and gambling vouchers.
The elderly couple became wary of Green, who was unemployed at the time, after she refused to return their cards or provide them with ATM statements showing their account balances.
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In desperation the pair called the police in March and officers visited Green's address, where they discovered the cards.
The couple went to the bank with a family member and were 'gutted' to discover Green had cleared out their accounts and they were, in fact, now both overdrawn.
DC Marc Bates, who investigated, said: "Green saw her opportunity to take advantage of kind-hearted, vulnerable people.
"She lulled her frail victims into a false sense of security and betrayed their trust by playing the role of a helpful and supportive friend while clearing out both of their bank accounts.
"Both victims had worked hard to save their money over the years, with one of them even putting savings by for her own funeral costs.
"It's devastating that someone, who they believed was a friend, could take away their life savings.
"Sadly, one victim passed away before this case came to court, but I am very happy we got justice for him and the rest of his family.
"Hopefully this case will serve as a wake-up call to anyone else hoping to turn a profit through deception. I also hope this highlights our commitment to protecting the most vulnerable in our society."
In police interview, Green denied stealing cash from the couple and claimed they were lying, even blaming one of them for keeping the other's money, which she had drawn out.
However, she eventually admitted two counts of fraud by false representation and was sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court today (October 24), where she was handed a total of two years in prison.
She was also handed a restraining order for a period of 12 years.