Published: 00:01, 19 April 2016
The manager of a care home, who siphoned more than £57,000 from bank accounts of three vulnerable men, has been sent to jail.
Teressa Luker, 54, of Grange Road, Saltwood, took the money which was to have been used for the care of the vulnerable victims.
She set up bank accounts in the name of each patient and for two years used it on herself, a judge heard.
Luker claimed she couldn’t explain where the money had gone but admitted drinking heavily and playing fruit machines.
Canterbury Crown Court heard how when the fraud was discovered she tried to claim the money had been sent to a named person who worked for the owners of the Ashgold House in Whitfield.
Prosecutor James Gardiner told how in 2003 Luker had begun working for the residential home, which offers 24-hour care to five people with severe learning difficulties.
Four years later she was appointed manager and in 2008 the company changed the way in which benefits were paid to the residents.
Luker, who had admitted three frauds by breach of trust, took the opportunity to set up bank accounts for three residents but kept the details and the cards under lock and key in her office.
Mr Gardiner said that in October 2010 the company’s headquarters discovered that from February 2008 it had not received £40,000 in care costs.
He said after an investigation had begun Luker became evasive and avoided talking to management before “disappearing altogether”.
Eventually a boss broke into the file and discovered the secret accounts and the missing £57,178.56.
Mr Gardiner said that although £40,000 was Allied Care’s money, each of the residents had also lost between £4,000 and £6,700.
The former manager told police she had been “stupid” but was suffering from ill health and a series of bereavements.
Her barrister Christina Rowberry said Luker had been “a strong, law-abiding lady” who had not been able to cope with “a series of catastrophes.”
Judge Adele Williams jailed her for two years telling her: “This was a determined fraud carried out over two years and had involved three vulnerable people, who I believe you deliberately targeted.”
A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation was ordered to see police could recover some of the missing cash.
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