A care worker who befriended an elderly resident to defraud him out of more than £7,000 has been sentenced to a 12 month community order.
Maria Caruana of Lostock Road, Seedley, convinced the 79-year-old man in her care at a Salford residential home to hand over cheques as “gifts” over a period of three months.
Detective Sergeant Joanne Kay, from Salford Vulnerable Adults Unit, said: “Maria Caruana took advantage of a very vulnerable man, by befriending him and then abusing her position of trust.”
In May 2010 Caruana told the gentleman she needed help redecorating her home and he wrote out part of a cheque for £600.
His hand writing was shaky and he left the rest of the cheque blank allowing Caruana to add another zero to the figure.
A week later she told him she had been unable to visit her family at home in Malta for five years so he wrote another cheque for £1,000.
Finally she asked for more help in plastering her home and he wrote a third cheque for £300.
When questioned over the missing cheques in his cheque book by the manager of the care home the gentleman said he had given them to Caruana as a gift.
In a hearing she was dismissed for gross misconduct for accepting gifts and ordered to pay back the amount of £1,900 as the actual figure of the first cheque had not yet emerged.
It was not until December that the care home manager was reviewing the resident’s paperwork and discovered the actual figure Caruana had received.
Detective Sergeant Kay added: “Her primary responsibility should have been the well being of the residents in her care, not taking advantage of them to line her own pocket.
"I am delighted with the result, which will hopefully provide some closure for the victim and will help him to move on knowing justice has been done.”
After a two day trial at Manchester Crown Court, Caruana was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to a 12 month community order, suspended for three months and a curfew during that time from 7pm to 7am.