Social care businessman sentenced for defrauding clients in North Yorkshire

The former owner of a social care franchise has been sentenced at York Crown Court for defrauding his clients following an investigation by North Yorkshire County Council.

The investigation found that James Poole, a former owner of the Bluebird Care franchise in Harrogate, financially abused his clients while in a position of trust by taking £37k from their managed accounts to supplement his business.

Poole was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, 180 hours of unpaid work and a victim surcharge after pleading guilty to all charges at York Magistrates Court in April.

The money he had taken was paid by the County Council to the Bluebird Care clients via direct payments, which are meant to pay for their care. Mr Poole was responsible for managing these funds on behalf of his clients; however he took advantage of this position by using the money to pay into his business.

Once the discrepancies were brought to his attention, Poole has since repaid the outstanding amount of £18,655 in full.

The current owners of Bluebird Care in Harrogate have moved to make it clear he has no links with them, telling the Harrogate Informer website: “James Poole sold the business and franchise in October 2017 and is now no longer associated with it in any way.

“As new owners, we have used our experience to make appropriate changes to take the business forward in the right way for both the business and our valued clients.”

Picture (c) Anna Gowthorpe / PA Wire.