A woman from Widnes has been jailed after stealing more than £1,500 from an elderly couple she was caring for.
Karen Lunt, of Catherine Street, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by misrepresentation.
The 37-year-old was sentenced for the offences at Liverpool Crown Court today, Friday 26 April. She was jailed for six months.
The case against Lunt began when the victims, who have disabilities and mobility problems, noticed some payments on a bank statement in September that they had not authorised.
Lunt had been the Widnes couple’s registered carer for the past year and knew their bank card details from when she had helped them pay for their shopping.
The couple told their daughter about the payments and she notified the police.
A subsequent investigation revealed that Lunt had used the couple’s bank card to pay for a holiday in Cornwall that cost nearly £1,000.
She also used it to pay off nearly £700 of a personal loan.
Lunt originally denied the fraud offences, claiming that the couple gave her permission to spend the money.
But after the couple attended court to give evidence she changed her plea to guilty.
Following today’s sentencing, Detective Constable Phil Brown said: “Lunt befriended the victims and gained their absolute trust over a year-long period as their carer.
“The elderly couple have disabilities and limited mobility and Lunt was employed to look after them.
“However, Lunt chose to abuse her position as the couple’s carer and she betrayed their trust in the most despicable way.
“Lunt’s actions have left the victims deeply upset and had a massive impact on their lives.
“She was like a family member to them and, although they will never be able to forget her betrayal and the anguish she has caused, I hope that the sentence imposed by the court will give them some closure.”
On top of her custodial sentence, Lunt was ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge and given a five-year restraining order to prevent her from going near the victims.
Chief Inspector Simon Parsonage said: “I hope that this case reassures Widnes residents that the police treats fraud extremely seriously and we will take robust action against offenders involved in this type of crime and against anyone seeking to prey on vulnerable members of the community.”
If you are an ongoing victim of fraud contact Cheshire Constabulary on 101 or give the details via https://cheshire.police.uk/contact/general-enquiries.
To report historic fraud offences call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.