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Care home manager spared jail over £40,000 OAP fraud
Thursday, 21 June 2012
A CARE home manager who stole almost £40,000 from vulnerable OAPs was spared jail on Monday by a judge who said she was not in a high position of trust.
Mahani Abdoolraheem, 49, of Lovelace Gardens, in Southend, pleaded guilty on May 11, to nine counts of theft from individual residents at the Maplin House Care Home, in Shoebury.
Her victims were elderly residents with learning difficulties and Alzheimer’s. One of them was 97 years old.
The thefts totalled £39,370. She used the OAPs’ cash to buy perfume and jewellery.
She initially denied the thefts and even fabricated a diary which she said proved the money had been taken legitimately. Forensic scientists proved the diary was fraudulent.
After admitting the crimes, Abdoolraheem then attempted to defend her actions by telling a probation officer: “I only thought it was £25,000.”
Abdoolraheem managed the care home between 2005 and 2009 after being employed by the owner, her uncle Yousouf Meeajun.
Mr Meeajun was originally a co-defendant in the case, as was Abdoolraheem’s husband Rashed, but prosecutors offered no evidence against them at the hearing in May.
Prosecutor David Holborn said Abdoolraheem had had control of the elderly residents’ bank accounts because they were incapable of managing their own finances.
He said her control of residents’ bank accounts placed her in a high position of trust and made her a category one offender, with a sentencing range of two to six years in prison for a first time offender.
Defence barrister Michael Skelley argued that Abdoolraheem was not in a high position of trust because she was supposed to be supervised by the owner and by external auditors.
He also argued that the fraud was less serious because it was always likely to be discovered.
Judge Owen Davies disagreed. He told Skelley: “Here are vulnerable people who don’t understand the financial arrangements, who are giving somebody a blank cheque. If that’s not a high degree of trust, then what is?
“The fact is that leaving aside how likely a person is to be discovered, if they are willingly assuming a position which handles the entirety of the fortunes of people who by definition are unable to manage them by themselves, it’s very difficult to be in a higher position of trust.”
However, in his summing up, Judge Davies changed his mind and sentenced Abdoolraheem as a category two offender.
He said she had been ‘catapulted’ into a position of trust which she was not trained to handle.
He added: “Having been given this trust inappropriately, you breached it.”
Judge Davies handed Abdoolraheem a 12-month suspended sentence and commented that it would be ‘inappropriate’ for her to carry out any unpaid work.
Instead, he handed her a 28-day curfew between 11pm and 7am, but added that it would not be electronically monitored.
Abdoolraheem was ordered to pay £25,490 back to the surviving victims and an additional £11,880 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Alzheimer’s Society spokesman Robbie Lane said the story was a familiar one.
He said: “People with dementia are vulnerable, and all too often we hear of them being taken advantage of financially. This is on top of facing high care costs and a society that fails to understand their needs. By working together with banks, local authorities and the general public we can help to stop this abuse.”
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1 comments on this news item
Posted by : Sandra, London | Friday 22/Jun/2012 | Report this comment
There is no justice in this country - she should be locked up! she is an abuser and a thief. clearly she has no dignity and should live with shame for the rest of her life. who know whether she could do this in another 5 years time? a person never changes and a criminal will always remain a criminal!
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