A carer has been jailed after stealing more than £6,000 from an 83-year-old man she was supposed to be looking after.
Megan Robertson, 22, visited cash machines in Ellon and Portlethen with the stolen bank card on dozens of occasions over the course of around a month and a half, usually withdrawing the maximum amount.
The mum-of-one used the pensioner’s cash to make “extravagant” purchases including new clothes and children’s toys.
Her crime only came to light when the 83-year-old visited his bank and advised he’d lost his card.
And the first-offender has now been jailed for six months, with Sheriff Graham Buchanan warning the sentence would make it “absolutely plain” to others that such behaviour would be “dealt with seriously”.
Fiscal depute Carol Gammie told Aberdeen Sheriff Court: “Megan Robertson was employed as a care assistant with Aberness Care Ltd, and the complainer was one of her clients.
“The complainer attended a TSB branch in Ellon on November 5 at 12.15pm.
“He attended to withdraw cash and informed them he mislaid his bank card.
“He was advised by the cashier of unusual activity. Between September 19 and November 4 2020 the sum of £6,320 had been withdrawn from his account.
“He advised these were not withdrawals he had made.
“Police were contacted.
“Police officers investigated the matter and identified the ATMs concerned.
“CCTV footage was obtained and reviewed.
“The accused’s vehicle was identified as attending at these locations and a female observed at the ATMs at the precise times the withdrawals were made.”
Ms Gammie told the court five withdrawals had been made on September 19, one on September 20 and three on September 26.
Two withdrawals were made on each of September 27, October 10, 11, 17, 18, 19, 29, 30, 31, November 2 and 4.
The court heard Robertson had previously accompanied the pensioner in her capacity as a carer to withdraw money from a cash machine and had learned his pin number then.
The fiscal added: “The sums generally withdrawn were £250 at a time, occasionally less than that. She was generally withdrawing the maximum amount.
“A search warrant was obtained for her address and a search was carried out.”
Officers discovered a cash tin containing between £1,000 and £1,500, as well as a large number of receipts for new clothes, children’s toys and other items.
ATM receipts were also discovered.
Ms Gammie said: “A witness advised officers of a concern she had had over the accused’s spending habits.
“She’d been observed to be making extravagant purchases despite having a relatively low source of income.”
Robertson, of Pennan Way, Ellon, pled guilty to stealing a bank card and to using it to steal £6,320.
The withdrawals were made at various locations in Ellon and Portlethen.
Defence agent Neil McRobert said his client resided with her mother and step-father, and her two-year-old child.
He said: “The individual who advised police was her mother when the search warrant was executed.
“She has no previous convictions.
“Ms Robertson acknowledges she has pled guilty to a serious offence.
“She accepts, in the course of her employment working with this individual, she was in a position of trust and accepts she abused that position of trust.
“The social work report addresses some mental health difficulties she had and was having during 2020. She was prescribed medication in relation to that.”
Mr McRobert said his client was not in a position to repay the money stolen.”
Sheriff Buchanan’s comments and sentence
Sheriff Graham Buchanan told Robertson: “This was a mean and nasty offence and, of course, a very serious breach of trust committed by you in relation to an elderly gentleman to whom you were a carer.
“You persisted in this behaviour over a period of almost two months and appropriated over £6,000 from the gentleman’s bank account.
“I take the view that this is such a serious matter that only a custodial sentence is appropriate for the purpose of both punishing you for the serious offences you committed and also to make it absolutely plain to others that behaviour of this kind will be dealt with seriously by the courts.”
He ordered her to be jailed for six months.
Following the conclusion of the case, Aberness welcomed the sentence.
Dawn Knowles and Mairi MacLeod, managing directors, made a joint statement which said: “Aberness Care Ltd is delighted with the outcome and that justice has been served.
“We have zero-tolerance in relation to abuse of vulnerable adults and our clients and we hope the court’s decision will highlight awareness of adult protection and that behaviour like this will not be tolerated.”
Aberness also confirmed Robertson was no longer employed by the firm and stressed all staff go through rigorous training and checks.