A woman who siphoned tens of thousands of pounds from “particularly vulnerable residents” at a north-east care home has been ordered to pay back the money – or face jail.
Tracey Seivwright admitted embezzling £40,500 while working at Banff Care Home between December 2013 and March 2016.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard she targeted the most vulnerable of residents, such as those those without relatives to monitor their financial affairs.
Seivwright was an administrator at the home and was trusted with access to residents’ various bank accounts – enabling her to help herself through withdrawals and cashed cheques.
More than half – £22,000 – was stolen by redirecting fees paid by Aberdeenshire Council.
Yesterday Seivwright, of Causewayend Crescent, Aberchirder, was given a fortnight to pay back the money.
Sheriff Andrew Miller also ordered her to carry out 225 hours unpaid work as an alternative to prison.
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He told the 45-year-old: “You have pleaded guilty to a very serious offence of dishonesty.
“You abused a position of trust at the care home over a period of two years and four months, so it wasn’t committed in the spur of the moment.
“You not only abused the trust of your employer but also targeted particularly vulnerable resident who relied on you for care.”
He said he would not jail her after hearing about the impact it would have on her husband’s plumbing and heating business – of which she is a director – and its one employee, as well as her teenage daughters.
Seivwright’s solicitor Liam McAllister said she was “disgusted at herself and what she had done”, branding it all “utterly shameful”.
He explained Seivwright had secured the money to repay care home operators Dawnside Developments, who have already reimbursed her victims.
After the hearing, a staff member at the home said she was disappointed at the sentence and claimed it would not deter others from carrying out similar crimes.
They said: “The sentence is awful, I would have liked her to go to prison.
“The last three years have been hell.”
Ally Donaldson, director of the home’s operator Dawnside Developments, said: “We are pleased that this matter is finally over, after what has been a difficult time for all concerned at Banff Care Home.
“We are now looking forward to getting back to normal and continuing to provide the best possible care for all our residents.”