Taking advantage of the unfortunate
The Teesside Crown Court (northern England) has ordered a caregiver who gambled with money stolen from a disabled military veteran to serve time in prison.
made an attempt on his life after learning of her criminal behavior
Alana Squire, 37, pleaded guilty to fraud after stealing £46,751.75 ($51,763.54) over 29 months. The victim, a 63-year-old man who was left crippled after his kneecap was removed, met Squire while she was working for Bluebird Care. He later made an attempt on his life after learning of her criminal behavior.
Squire appealed to avoid prison time on account of the impact it would have on her two children, but was denied.
Gambling with stolen money
Squire obtained the money by lying about different problems, including being unable to pay her bills or buy her kids’ school uniforms. The man gave her access to his bank card, which she then used to withdraw money spent on gambling debts, among other things.
“[The victim] took pity on her and gave her his bank card and pin number for her to borrow money for the items and the defendant promised in return to pay him,” prosecutor Paul Newcombe said. “But soon, she was making weekly requests for money to such an extent that the complainant became concerned he would lose all his savings.”
According to a review of the victim’s bank history, average withdrawals reached around £600 ($663) until Squire received access to his account. From there, it rose to a peak of £7,060 ($7,805) in March 2019.
The paper trail also revealed that Squire spent the majority of the money on gambling sites, including Gala Bingo, Mecca Bingo, and Sky Bet. She won £58,000 ($64,081) but lost over £137,000 ($151,292)
The defendant said that despite Squire never repaying more than £250 ($276), he felt as if he could not deny her requests.
highly vulnerable individual who relied on the defendant for human contact and interaction”
“He was a lonely, isolated, and highly vulnerable individual who relied on the defendant for human contact and interaction,” said Newcombe. “She willfully ignored rules forbidding staff from developing a financial relationship with customers or seeking financial aid.”
Squire was fired from Bluebird in 2020 after another patient reported her for stealing money. She confessed to “borrowing” £9,000 ($9,939) and was shocked to learn she had taken £46,000 ($50,799).
In addition to the attempt on his life, the victim suffered a small stroke and heart attack in the wake of the case. He is also in a position of financial strain, now that a chunk of his savings has been lost.
”My mental health has been extremely affected by the incident,” said the victim in an impact statement. “I recently attempted to take my own life due to my financial situation. It’s caused me so much stress and anger.”
Police Constable Michael McVay, who led the investigation for the North Yorkshire Police, spoke to the heinousness of the events.
she seemed unremorseful and denied she’d done anything wrong”
“This was a sickening abuse of trust in which Squire simply helped herself to very significant sums of money,” said McVay. “Even when she was confronted with the evidence, she seemed unremorseful and denied she’d done anything wrong.”
He also offered a word of warning to people who may find themselves in similar situations of abuse.
“The manipulative way she committed this crime was awful,” said McVay. “Offenses like this can have a truly devastating impact on victims, whose so-called friend is actually there to exploit their vulnerability.”
Attorney Brian Russell told Judge Jonathan Carroll that a lengthy prison sentence would hurt Squire’s two children. He also noted that she had been of previous good character. Despite the plea, she was handed a three-year sentence.
Fraud crimes are continuing to pile up in the UK. Last month, another woman was found to have stolen over £1.4m ($1.5m) to fund her gambling habit. In July, a Welsh financial manager pleaded guilty to stealing £47,000 ($51,947) from a charity.