Social services boss spent £5,000 in sex shop after plundering bank accounts of his patients

A social services boss spent £5,000 in a sex shop after plundering the bank accounts of vulnerable people in his care.

Edward Leavy stole about £94,000 from seven victims while working as a senior manager with Manchester council’s physical disabilities team.

He was in charge of three accommodation complexes for people with special needs – but used his position to steal bank cards, PIN numbers and cash.

Leavy spent thousands in the sex shop – where staff nicknamed him the ‘Golden Root Man’ after the large quantities of the ‘herbal Viagra’ that he bought there.

It is thought his bulk buying at the Private Shop on Oldham Street in Manchester city centre was a money laundering operation, with the sex-enhancing product then being sold on.

Other people are believed to have been involved in the scam, although nobody else was arrested.

Leavy was finally trapped when a colleague opened a bank statement posted to one of his victims and spotted a series of withdrawals from the account.

Police were called in and it became clear that Leavy was involved in the systematic and repeated theft of money from vulnerable people.

Leavy, of Denton, Manchester, admitted conspiracy to defraud at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court. He was warned he faces a long jail term when he is sentenced next month.

The offences took place between 2005 and 2008, when Leavy had managerial responsibility for the accommodation complexes at Alsager Close in Chorlton, Kentmore Close in Gorton and Louisa Street in Openshaw.

Based at social services headquarters at The Leaf Centre in Miles Platting, Leavy used his expertise to get around systems which were meant to safeguard the handling of money, cash cards and other valuables belonging to vulnerable residents.

He was able to gain access to their cash and bank accounts, and stole £51,000 from one victim alone – almost everything the man had.

David Tinker, who died two years ago aged 63, was confined to a wheelchair and had impaired mental and physical capacity after being hurt in an explosion at work.

He was described by one of his carers as one of the most vulnerable adults he had ever worked with.

Mr Tinker should have been cash rich, with enough funds to have ensured him comfort for life.

In November 2006, his Halifax account had funds of almost £67,000 – his share from the sale of the house he had owned with his elderly mother.

But less than two years later, it had been drained of all but £5,000.
Awaiting sentence: Manchester Crown Court, where Leavy admitted the offences

Awaiting sentence: Manchester Crown Court, where Leavy admitted the offences

Mr Tinker’s card was used for a string of cash withdrawals.

In January 2007 alone, it was used on 23 separate days to withdraw the daily £300 maximum.

Leavy had been in sole charge of his cash card, cheque book and wallet.

When police searched Leavy’s car and his home, papers and documents were found on which names or initials and PIN numbers had been written, including Mr Tinker’s.

Leavy stole £23,000 from the account of another victim living in one of the complexes.

The police investigation found that Leavy, who began working for social services as a support worker in 2002, had been living well beyond his means. 

He bragged about how frequently he holidayed in the US and how he was thinking of buying property there.

Manchester Council declined to comment.