Published: 06:00, 09 September 2019
A carer with a conviction for fraud was able to forge and cash cheques belonging to an elderly dementia sufferer at a Herne Bay home.
Kathrina Warren was said to be cynical and calculating in her targeting of the victim when she stole £7,960 from her bank account.
Warren, 37, was briefly employed at Kimberley Residential Home in Mickleburgh Hill in 2017 when she wrote out two cheques for £960 and £7,000 to herself using an alias.
It left the resident so distressed that the second forged cheque for £7,000 has never been revealed to her.
The former care assistant admitted two charges of fraud by false representation between October 2017 and January 2018.
But despite hearing that Warren carried out a series of similar frauds 10 years ago, a judge at Maidstone Crown Court said he was “prepared to stick his neck out” and not impose an immediate jail sentence.
Prosecutor Mark Hunsley said a firm of solicitors had power of attorney to look after the victim’s finances but she had been allowed to keep her cheque book.
Warren started work at the care home in mid October 2017 but her employment had already been ended by the end of November because she had not turned up for shifts or attended training sessions.
A month later it was realised a cheque belonging to the resident was missing, together with £960 from her bank account, said Mr Hunsley.
“The victim was told and it was described as leaving her quite distraught and unsettled,” he said.
Despite having been dismissed by the care home, Warren was seen by staff at the Kimberley on December 19.
She said she was dropping off chocolates and cards for friends at the home.
The second missing cheque was discovered the following day, with the corresponding stub uncompleted.
“It had been written for £7,000, cashed in and made payable to Kathrina Ivory Kimberley Care Home with a signature that purported to be from the victim but wasn’t her usual signature,” said Mr Hunsley.
Warren was arrested and claimed the money had been given to her as gifts.
In 2009 she was given a community order for five offences of fraud by false representation.
She had forged cheques belonging to a family friend and used the money to spend on catalogue goods and school photos.
Imposing a two-year jail term suspended for two years, Judge David Griffith-Jones QC said: “These were two separate offences with little time apart, indicating your cynical, calculated and progressive approach.”
“The victim was told and it was described as leaving her quite distraught and unsettled...”Prosecutor Mark Hunsley
Warren must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and attend a rehabilitation activity requirement. She was also ordered to pay compensation of £960 at £10 a week. She has repaid £7,000.
Warren denied a third charge of failing to disclose a criminal conviction to gain employment. This was accepted by the prosecution and ordered to be left on the court file.
Kevin Post, the director of C & P Ltd, the company which runs the care home, said: “This was a very sad situation and we hope that in future this individual may be placed on the Disclosure and Barring Service barred list.
“We believe she had not been on this list in the past and thus her conduct and past offences were not thought to to be so severe as to consider her to be a risk to vulnerable adults.”