ANDREA Dean, 51, of Whitehall Close, Kingstone, Uttoxeter, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position at Stafford Crown Court and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
She was granted deputyship over a 76-year-old man’s finances by the Court of Protection and went on to use most of the man’s savings to fund her own lifestyle.
During a routine audit, the Court of Protection found Dean had used her position as deputy to abuse the position of power she was in.
She made gifts to herself that included cash, a holiday, theatre and concert tickets and spa days.
Financial abuse, which means stealing or defrauding someone else’s goods or property, has become such an issue that in July the Government gave it a legal definition through the Care Act.
Detective Chief Inspector Nicki Furlong, of the Force Safeguarding and Investigation team, said: “Dean was in a position of trust and she helped herself to the assets she was supposed to be managing.
“Those with power of attorney or deputyship should make decisions that are in the best interest of the person they are assisting. There are very strict rules about what can be given as gifts and claimed as expenses to prevent this sort of behaviour.
When a person is appointed to help with managing another’s finances, and they are unsure of the rules and restrictions of how they should go about doing that, they should contact the Office of the Public Guardian or seek legal advice to ensure they fully understand their role.
The Ministry of Justice said: “Safeguarding vulnerable people is our priority.
“We take swift action if any abuse is reported and have a zero tolerance approach to any attorney or deputy who breaks the law.”