A carer who stole money from an 88-years-old woman suffering from dementia, was giving money to a ‘con man,’ a local court has heard.
Derry Magistrate’s Court heard 54-years-old Sandra McDaid was befriended by someone on Facebook who claimed they needed money for their child’s medical care.
She paid £1,000 of her own money to this person, before being contacted by him again.
On this occasion she stole over £1,200 from the octogenarian she was caring for.
McDaid, of Ballynarig Road, Limavady, Co. Derry, pleaded guilty to theft by an employee and four charges of fraud by false representation.
The offences were committed between December 8 and December 11, last year.
The court was told the injured party’s daughter contacted police after she noticed her mother’s Post Office card had gone missing.
The woman’s entire savings, £1,219.72, had been cleared from the account over a period of three days.
Police investigations led to the defendant, who was a carer for the injured party.
During police interview, the defendant made full admissions and ‘expressed regret for what had happened.
Defence counsel Steven Mooney said it was accepted this case involved a ‘breach of trust’ and that the victim was in a ‘particularly vulnerable position.’
The barrister said his client had been befriended by someone on Facebook who told her he needed money to pay for a blood transfusion for his child.
He said McDaid had paid £1,000 from her own pocket to this person.
Mr Mooney said she was contacted by him again and this time she gave into the ‘temptation’ to take the money from the injured party.
He told the court that the defendant had used the money to pay the con man, adding that police had found ‘some documentation to verify that.’
Mr. Mooney said the defendant has had her employment terminated and has been suspended from working as a carer.
He also told the court that McDaid’s reputation now ‘lies in tatters’.
The barrister provided the court with a number of references from people his client had cared for and said they spoke of her in ‘glowing terms’.
The defending barrister added that McDaid was also in a position to repay the money.
Passing sentence, District Judge Barney McElholm said the defendant had been ‘quite foolishly taken in by a con man whose only aim was to get the maximum amount of money possible from her by spinning some sad story.’
The judge said what McDaid did “was wrong. She may have been thinking she was acting for the greater good, that is okay when it is her own money but she can’t deal with other people’s property on that basis.”
He said he did not think it would serve any purpose to impose an immediate custodial sentence.
Judge McElholm suspended a four month sentence for 18 months.
He also imposed a Compensation Order for £1,219.72.