A carer who stole almost £50,000 from a disabled veteran and spewed it all away on online gambling sites has been jailed for three years in the UK.
Thirty-seven-year-old mother of two, Alana Squire, pleaded guilty to fraud after stealing £46,751.75 ($52,423.31) from her victim, a 63-year-old former military man.
She then spent the money on gambling sites such as Gala Bingo, Mecca Bingo, and Sky Bet.
In what was described as a “sickening abuse of trust” by police, the stress of Squire’s thefts led to her victim suffering a mini stroke and heart attack. The financial ruin even led to him attempting suicide.
Teesside Crown Court heard how Squire, who worked for BlueBird Care, inveigled her way into her victim’s finances by first claiming she couldn’t afford her bills or children’s school uniforms.
Prosecutor Paul Newcombe explained:
“He took pity on her and gave her his bank card and pin number for her to borrow money for the items and the defendant promised in return to pay him – but soon she was making weekly requests for money to such an extent that the complainant became concerned he would lose all his savings.”
The victim’s average cash withdrawals were £600 a month prior to the Squire’s involvement, after which they increased to £1,700 in July 2018, to £3,900 in January 2019, and reached a peak of £7,060 in March 2019.
Squire’s bank accounts showed that between July 2018 and December 2020 she lost more than £137,000, mostly with Gala Bingo, Mecca Bingo and Sky Bet. Her winnings in that period totalled £58,000, the majority of which were also spent on gambling.
Squire was sacked by Bluebird Care in 2020 after another patient reported her for stealing money. She confessed to “borrowing” £9,000 and was “shocked” to learn she had taken £46,000.
Newcombe described the victim as “a lonely, isolated and highly vulnerable individual who relied on the defendant for human contact and interaction.”
He told the court:
“The defendant exploited the complainant’s kindness, vulnerability and generosity,” while Squire, “…wilfully ignored rules forbidding staff from developing a financial relationship with customers or seeking financial aid.”
The veteran gave a victim impact statement, revealing:
“My mental health has been extremely affected by the incident. I recently attempted to take my own life due to my financial situation. It’s caused me so much stress and anger.”
Squire was said by police to have shown no remorse, instead pleading with the court to spare her a prison sentence.
Defence counsel, Brian Russell, said his client has two teenage children and claimed a prison sentence would have “a significant impact” on them.
However, Judge Jonathan Carroll sentenced Squire to three-years in prison.
Following sentencing, PC Michael McVay, of North Yorkshire Police, said:
“This was a sickening abuse of trust in which Squire simply helped herself to very significant sums of money. Even when she was confronted with the evidence, she seemed unremorseful and denied she’d done anything wrong.”
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