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'Dishonest' employee stole £20,000 from elderly widow

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: July 11, 2013

A former care home worker who stole almost £20,000 from a frail elderly widow has been warned she faces a lengthy jail sentence.

Suzanne Greaves, who worked as financial administrator at the Hartsholme House care home in Lincoln, denied stealing from 83-year-old Dorothy Cherrill, claiming the money was a gift.

But a jury at Lincoln Crown Court took less than an hour to convict her at the end of a trial.

Andrew Copeland, prosecuting, said as part of her employment duties Greaves had the responsibility of collecting the care home fees from the elderly residents.

"She systematically fleeced this woman," he said.

"The lady was in her 80s. She was paying her monthly care fees by producing a cheque which as far as she was concerned covered the payment of the fees and it ended up in Suzanne Greaves' account.

"Lawfully it should have gone into the Hartsholme House care trust. The care trust appear to have been oblivious to this.

"In January 2009 a new computer software system was being introduced.

"During the updating process the care home began to notice some irregularity."

Police were involved and Greaves, who by that time was off work through sickness, was arrested.

Greaves claimed the money was gifted to her as Mrs Cherrill wanted to reduce her savings to a level which would allow her care fees to be paid out of state benefits.

But the jury was told Greaves made monthly cheques payable to herself for an amount identical to the fees that were due.

Mrs Cherrill had given her blank cheques expecting the administrator would fill in the correct details so that her fees were paid in full each month.

Greaves, 47, of Constable Avenue, Lincoln, denied theft of £19,768 between August 27, 2007 and October 23, 2009, but was found guilty by a jury after a trial.

At an earlier trial she was convicted of two other charges of theft totalling £2,000 from other elderly residents at the home.

Judge Sean Morris adjourned sentence on all matters and granted bail to allow Greaves to make arrangements for the care of her youngest child.

But he said: "You are a thoroughly dishonest person who steals from the elderly and you will go to prison.

"You must expect a sentence measured in years."

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