Wednesday, September 25, 2013
A woman who siphoned off thousands of pounds from her uncle’s bank account tried to blame the majority of the fraud on her dementia-suffering father.
Katrina Shelton, 39, of Beaton Crescent, Huntingdon, started taking money from her uncle’s account following her mother’s death in March 2011.
Prior to the death, the defendant’s mother and father – Maureen and Alan Shelton – withdrew cash from an ATM to pay for the uncle’s shopping.
A Newton hearing at Peterborough Crown Court on Monday was told Shelton took over this duty because her father could no longer make cash withdrawals.
Shelton said she would take out an amount as instructed by her father and hand it straight to him.
However, in May 2011, she started to take an additional £50 and kept it for herself, the court was told.
She claimed she began to take the extra money after her father said that her uncle would not know how much was withdrawn.
In June 2012, family members raised concerns after Shelton’s uncle discovered less than £5 in his account. Jonathan Seely, prosecuting, said that about £25,000 had been taken but the prosecution could only find culpability for £12,000.
Shelton admitted she took between £2,500 and £3,000. She said she did not know what happened to the money she gave to her father.
Mr Seely told Shelton: “What you tried to do, in my view, is take advantage of a vulnerable elderly relative and now you are doing the same thing to your own dad.”
The prosecution submitted no evidence against Mr Shelton, 70, of Ambury Hill, Huntingdon.
The court was told he had dementia and was not capable of operating an ATM.
Judge Sean Enright said he found Shelton’s defence – that her father had kept £9,000 – “implausible”.
He jailed Shelton for 24 weeks for one count of fraud and eight weeks for a second, to run concurrent.
He said: “You have committed a fraud against an uncle and tried to blame your father who is another vulnerable person.
“The breach of trust was so significant and so serious that only immediate custody is suitable.”
John Kirkpatrick, mitigating, said Shelton felt the money was compensation for an alleged, unproven, offence against her.