Walthamstow care home boss stole £50k from 86-year-old

A FORMER care home director has been jailed for 22 months after stealing nearly £50,000 from an elderly resident in order to keep her struggling business afloat.

Hafeeza Akram, used to run Glebelands Rest Home, in Glebelands Avenue, South Woodford, and was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday (October 18).

At a court hearing in September, Akram pleaded guilty to taking six sums totalling £49,500 from 86-year-old Monica Lawrence between January and April 2009.

The money was used to pay off a loans made the business, which has been shut since the end of last year.

Akram, 40, of Haroldstone Road in Walthamstow, took over £200,000 from the bank account of Monica Lawrence, while she was a resident at the former care home.

Although the full details of the case were never revealed in court as a full trial never took place following her guilty plea, during police interview Akram said she took the initial sums of money in good faith and with every intention of paying Mrs Lawrence back.

However, Akram admitted that the last six amounts were taken in the knowledge that she would not be able to return the money to her elderly victim.

Staff at Barclays bank staff became suspicious in April last year when they noticed Mrs Akram had withdrawn a particularly large amount.

They alerted the police, who then launched a joint investigation with Redbridge Council’s social services department.

DC Kelly Allen, from Redbridge CID, who worked on the investigation, said: “A number of the residents were placed at the home by social services, and Mrs Lawrence was one of only two private residents.

“It tends to be the case that social services do this because the residents don’t have much money, and unfortunately for Mrs Lawrence she was one of the few that had some.

“The judge gave her 22 months to take into account that the money had not been used to fund her lifestyle but had been used to prop up her business.”

A Redbridge Council spokeswoman said: “This case was brought to court as a result of strong partnership working with Redbridge Council, the police, other local authorities and the victim’s bank.

“This is a rare incident and we hope this goes some way towards demonstrating that abusing the trust of vulnerable adults will not be tolerated, and we will work to make sure cases like these lead to prosecution.

“The council, along with other organisations, continually review the measures in place to help protect vulnerable adults and encourage people to report any potential concerns.

“We are also encouraging service users to use the council’s contracting process when finding a care home to help reduce the risk of this type of incident.

“This care home closed in 2009 and all the residents have been moved to suitable alternative accommodation.”