When it comes to placing your loved ones into a care home, it is reasonable to think that they will be well looked after. After all, the use of the word care in the title of the premises indicates that they should be providing a worthwhile service that will be of benefit to you and your loved ones. There are many care homes across the United Kingdom that provide a tremendous service but of course, these are not the ones that make the news. Sadly there are a number of care homes where there is a distinct lack of care being presented to the residents.
There are many ways in which care homes can fail to provide a reasonable standard of service but you would have to say that stealing from residents is an extremely poor show. This has been the case at the Granby Lodge care home and the two owners of the care home have been sent to prison for stealing more than £40,000 from the residents. This is a shocking tale and it will undoubtedly have an impact on many people who have been weighing up placing their loved ones into a care home.
It is the damage that is caused to the rest of the industry and sector that is the most upsetting thing for many people but of course, anyone that suffers this style of crime should feel very annoyed at being treated in such a manner.
Deliberately Targeting the Vulnerable is a Nasty Move
York Crown Court was informed that Tom and Linda Atcheson had deliberately targeted highly vulnerable people at their care home. The prosecuting barrister in court said that the idea for the fraudulent activity came from Linda Atcheson who had singled out 8 potential victims. These victims were deemed to be extremely vulnerable because they didn’t have any immediate family. This increased the chances of getting away with the fraudulent activity.
The fact that this style of crime was so cleverly and yet cruelly calculated suggests that there was a high level of fraud taking place, and it would be easy to see why so many people would be hugely annoyed and aggrieved at this style of crime.
The fraudulent activity took place between January of 2012 and April of 2014 and over £45,000 had been transferred into the couple’s accounts. Mr Atcheson utilised online banking facilities to transfer sums of money, up to £9,700, from the accounts of victims. Atcheson was responsible for the bank accounts for a number of residents who were not in a position to deal with their own finances.
Atcheson had developed a bond and relationship with many of the victims, placing him into a position of trust where he was able to carry out the action. The couple admitted the nine counts of fraud that had been placed in front of them at the court.
Mitigating Circumstances but Still Condemnation for the Actions Taken
Mr Rooke, acting for the prosecution said in court; “They said they intended to pay the money back to the residents but it has not been paid back three years later. Mrs Atcheson said she chose the residents that would cause them the least amount of comeback, such as those who had no family to query the missing money.” The care home had experienced a period of financial difficulty when Mr Atcheson had surgery for kidney stones and at this point something went wrong.
This resulted in Mr Atcheson suffering some brain damage and he spent a great deal of time in intensive care. Mr Rooke continued by saying; “He had previously run the financial side of the business but was not able to anymore. Mrs Atcheson had to try to sort it out herself but she struggled.”
After this, the care home went into liquidation and the couple had to face up to the fact that they had re-mortgage their home in order to pay the debts that had been built up. The defence solicitor said that midway through the fraudulent act, Mrs Atcheson asked for a bank loan but this was denied and then the couple received a tax bill for £30,000. This caused Mrs Atcheson to panic, which led to the fraudulent activity which took place.
Both of the defendants were jailed for two years and Judge D P Hunt said; “These are such mean offences that the word despicable is not strong enough a term to describe the offending.”
The couple will also face a POCA hearing and this is where they will need to call on the services of an experienced defence solicitor. This is clearly the sort of case that appals the general public but there is still a need to ensure that the couple receive the best standard of defence and support.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.