Woman embezzled thousands of pounds from her adoptive mother who was suffering from dementia

© DC ThomsonAlison Macdonald leaving Inverness Sheriff Court.
Alison Macdonald leaving Inverness Sheriff Court.

A woman embezzled thousands of pounds from her adoptive mother rather than pay the dementia sufferer’s care home costs.

Inverness Sheriff Court was told that Alison Macdonald, 56, spent £8,000 of the late Margaret Mackinnon’s money on her own bills and those of her daughter over a 19-month period.

Macdonald, of Stewart Court, Culloden, yesterday admitted embezzling the cash at various locations in Inverness, Alness and Oban while having power of attorney (PoA) for Mrs Mackinnon.

Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood hear that Macdonald had been given PoA in July 2010 for the 89-year-old’s affairs, before she was taken into the Eader Glinn Residential Home in Oban in December that year.

Fiscal depute Michelle Molley told the court: “On October 11, 2011 the Area Manager for Adult Services in Oban, Shaun Davidson received a phone call from the manager of the home reporting that Mrs Macdonald had not paid any of their invoices and there was an outstanding debt.

“Recorded delivery letters to Mrs Macdonald’s home were ignored. Mr Davidson telephoned the accused to discuss the matter and was informed the monies were tied up in bonds but she would make payment when the funds were accessible.

“Agreement was made to wait until the end of November 2011 to see if the funds would be forthcoming. They were not.”

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In February, 2012, Macdonald’s power of attorney was revoked at Oban Sheriff Court after Mr Davidson went to the Office of the Public Guardian to carry out an investigation. A solicitor was appointed to administer Mrs Mackinnon’s finances until she died in February 2014.

During the 19 month period, Macdonald had been making regular cash withdrawals of £200, transferring large sums into her own account, as well as paying for goods and services.

In April 2013, Macdonald was declared bankcrupt but was discharged a year later.

After a police inquiry, Macdonald was charged. She told police: “Before I knew, the money had gone. There should still be £10,000 there of my mother’s money.” Macdonald said the expenditure was on shopping, restaurants, household bills and her daughter’s debts.

Her solicitor advocate, Shahid Latif, asked that a background report be prepared on his first offender client.

He added: “The offences was committed during a period where there was a slow fuse disintegration of her personal circumstances.

“She didn’t properly understand the demands that would be imposed upon her plus there were a number of personal tragedies in her life.”

Mr Latif said Macdonald’s father had died, her son was ill and her daughter was in financial trouble.

“But the majority of the money was spent not on herself but on others.” Mr Latif added.

Macdonald will re-appear for sentence on February 15.