Fraudster stole more than £10,000 from 83-year-old vulnerable friend

A woman who stole more than £10,000 from a vulnerable 83-year-old friend has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 12:30 pm

The pensioner trusted Teresa Salter with his bank card and PIN number while he was recovering at home following surgery in hospital, Leeds Crown Court heard.

But Salter, 55, used the card without his permission to buy clothes and food for herself and make cash withdrawals over an 18-month period.

The court heard the pensioner spent time in hospital in 2016 and 2017 and was bedridden when he came home.

The pensioner trusted Salter with the PIN to his account.

Philip Standfast, prosecuting, said Salter, of Fulford Street, Castleford, was a long-standing friend of the pensioner, who was supposed to be using his card to shop and get cash out for him.

The man noticed transactions he hadn't authorised when he saw his bank statements and alerted his social worker.

Mr Standfast said the unauthorised transactions amounted to a total of £10,986 between 2017 and 2018

Salter, who has no previous convictions, admitted fraud.

Craig Sutcliffe, mitigating, said Salter, who is on benefits, had financial difficulties at the time of the fraud and has since suffered a stroke.

Mr Sutcliffe said "He did notice a reduction of the amount in his bank account.

"It was not a case where bills were not being paid and he could not fulfil a lifestyle of his choice."

Judge Mushtaq Khokar said: "All he needed was about £50 a week.

"He had given you permission to withdraw £100 to £130 per week, but you were withdrawing a lot more.

"Even when he took his card back you continued to use it online because the numbers would have been stored on the computer.

"Again, you didn't take any notice of his complaints or the fact this friendship had come to an end after your dishonest conduct towards him.

"It was greed, it wasn't need in your case."

Judge Khokar handed Salter an 11 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

She must comply with a six month 8.30pm to 6am electronically monitored curfew and take part in 10 sessions of rehabilitation activity.