Carer Admits To Stealing £74,000 From 86-Year-Old Pensioner
Court of Protection lawyers at national law firm Irwin Mitchell are urging families to protect vulnerable family members’ assets by helping them to put Lasting Power of Attorney in place, after a carer stole an elderly great-grandfather’s life savings.
Carer Toni Chippendale, 55, is due to be sentenced this week for conning vulnerable pensioner, Geoffrey Cooke, out of £74,000, as well as over-charging him £25,000 in care fees.
Preston Crown Court heard that Chippendale was appointed through an agency and began working as Mr Cooke’s carer after he suffered a minor stroke.
When Mr Cooke retired, he took on the role of carer for his son John, 57, who had Down’s syndrome.
The carer began working directly for Mr Cooke, as well as caring for son John, and even accompanied the pair on holidays.
Media reported that Chippendale also sold Mr Cooke a three-piece suite, as well as persuading him to buy her a £5,000 car.
Cath Bermingham, Mr Cooke’s daughter, told reporters that Chippendale had “absolutely no remorse.”
Mr Cooke died from kidney failure last October, and his son John, passed away in March.
After Mr Cooke’s death, Chippendale pleaded guilty to fraud and theft.
Charges relating to Chippendale stealing from John Cooke were ordered to lie on file by the judge.
Chippendale, from Lancashire, is due to sentenced on June 24 at Preston Crown Court.
Julia Lomas, National Head of the Court of Protection team at Irwin Mitchell, said:
Expert Opinion“This shocking case highlights how vulnerable people are to having their savings stolen. Unfortunately, our Court of Protection lawyers see this type of behaviour all too often. The best way to protect an elderly person’s assets is for the vulnerable person to give a trusted family member a Lasting Power of Attorney, whilst they still have capacity to do so.
“This then gives the trusted family member the authority to manage property and affairs and reduce the risk of abuse. In this case, the executor’s of the gentleman’s estate may be able to sue the care worker in the hope of recovering some of the stolen money, but this is likely to be a lengthy process and may be difficult if the money has all gone. As they say, prevention is better than cure.”
Julia Lomas - Partner