A woman found guilty of abusing her father’s Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) has been given a suspended jail sentence, fined, and ordered to undertake unpaid community work.
The judgment follows the case of Julie Lorraine Winter, who was granted LPA alongside three other siblings by her father John Gould in 2014 after he was diagnosed with dementia.
The Lasting Power of Attorney enabled Ms Winter – who was elected the “unofficial” point of contact for her father’s financial affairs – to access his bank account to pay for care, groceries and household bills.
In March 2019, however, one of the siblings requested a statement of her father’s bank account, revealing “unusual” financial activity.
A family meeting revealed that Ms Winters had “abused her position of trust” and stolen around £4,600 between June 2018 and April 2019 to fund purchases at Asda and Argos, takeaways, and cash withdrawals.
Ms Winters turned herself in to the authorities, pleading guilty to stealing £4,466.28 from her vulnerable father. The court also heard how the discovery had caused “emotional stress and harm” to her whole family
She accepted a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, 100 hours of unpaid work and a compensation order of £4,600.
Commenting on the case, Recorder Michael Blakey, at Preston Crown Court, said: “I accept this was not pre-planned and it shows a substantial lack of judgement on your part. You now have on your record an offence of dishonesty.
“What you did, I was going to use the word unforgivable, but one hopes and perhaps believes that your family will forgive you in due course.”
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