Posted: 13 / 03 / 2022

Recently talking to lawyers I recognised the overlap between some of the criminal work which I am involved in and some of the civil and Court of Protection work in which they are involved.

A recent criminal case

This brought to mind a criminal case in which I was instructed a while back. A lady – let’s call her ‘Megan’ – had been looking after her grandmother ‘Edith’. They knew each other well, as Edith had effectively acted as Megan’s mother when she was a child.

Edith’s declining health and the Lasting Power of Attorney

Edith’s husband passed away and Edith herself was getting on in years. In 2011 Edith signed a Lasting Power of Attorney in favour of Megan in relation to her property and financial affairs. The following year Megan applied for the LPA to be registered.

By 2016 Edith’s health had deteriorated. She sold the home she owned and moved into a care home.

Where had Edith’s money gone?

In 2018 it became apparent that there were insufficient funds to pay Edith’s care home fees. Concerns were expressed as to where Edith’s money had gone and a complaint was made to the local police.

The fraud allegations

Following a police investigation Megan was charged with three counts of fraud by abuse of position over a period from 2012 to 2018. The sum defrauded by Megan was specified in the indictment and was said to be in excess of £130,000.

Our work before the trial

We were instructed by Megan’s solicitors.

We examined the relevant documents and challenged the conclusions drawn by the police investigation. We pointed to shortcomings in the wording of the indictment and identified sums of money that were alleged to have been spent fraudulently by Megan, but which had demonstrably been spent for Edith’s benefit.

The prosecution responded by drawing up a fresh indictment, reducing the value of the alleged fraud to below £60,000. Again the sums were specified in three counts.

The result at trial

The matter went to trial. Megan was convicted on two of the three counts. In his sentencing remarks the judge identified frauds of just less than £32,000 over a period of three years and sentenced Megan to a period of 30 months imprisonment on that basis.

Conclusion

Following our involvement, the period of the alleged fraud had been reduced from seven years to three years, and the amount had been reduced from over £130,000 to less than £32,000.

In conclusion, our work was instrumental in identifying the true amount of the fraud and securing a just result at trial.

 

This brief article can only provide an outline of the main issues. Lots more information is available on our website blog HERE or via our recorded webinars HERE.

Contacting us

Our contact details are here.

David