A 93-YEAR-OLD Scarborough woman was left almost destitute and reliant on the taxpayer for her care after her nephew drained her finances of £76,000, a court heard.
Dementia sufferer Joan Gregory moved into the St Celia’s Residential Home in Scarborough and her affairs put in the hands of her only living relative, Peter Boden.
However, York Crown Court heard that Boden, 63, drained her savings and attempted to sell her Scarborough flat in order to support his life in Spain.
Boden, who voluntarily returned to England and handed himself into the authorities with little more than £2,000 to his name, appeared for sentencing on one charge of fraud and three of theft.
Allan Ambrister, prosecuting, told how Boden, who has no fixed abode in this country, was granted Power of Attorney for his aunt’s finances and, over a period of time between 2008 and 2010 he moved £46,000 into his own accounts.
The court heard that Boden then offered to sell Miss Gregory’s Scarborough flat to a West Yorkshire family who already owned several properties in the same block.
He came to an agreement with the couple to sell them the flat for £75,000.
The couple paid a £25,000 cash deposit and made some of the £2,000 agreed monthly payments towards the sale price before the facts of what was going on came to light.
Boden had been legally advised that all monies from the flat sale should be paid into Miss Gregory’s accounts, but none ever was and all but a small amount of St Celia’s fees ever paid – the debt for her care running up to over £8,000.
Mr Ambrister said that part of the cost of Miss Gregory’s care came from her savings, but as a result of Boden’s actions she had been left with very little, unable to pay her care costs and reliant on North Yorkshire County Council for her place at St Celia’s and weekly spending money.
Eventually the problems came to light and Boden’s Power of Attorney was ended.
Glenn Parsons, mitigating, said that his client accepted full responsibility for what had happened and was not asking the court for any sympathy or pity, having put in a “stiff upper lip” regarding the time he had spent in prison on remand and for the sentence he was bound to receive.
Adding that it was always something of a sad occasion when a man of 63 and of previous good character appeared before the courts for something as a serious as these offences, Mr Parsons said that it was impossible to say where the money had gone.
The court ruled that Boden, who moved to Spain after his divorce, should now face a financial investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act to establish what his remaining assets are, although Mr Parson’s said that his client had the clothes he stood up in and perhaps no more than £2,000 to his name.
Passing sentence, The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, said that the offences constituted a most serious breach of trust.
Boden was jailed for two years, the judge ruling that a further hearing to access his financial position should be heard in April of next year.