A CARER who admitted two charges of fraud, by claiming she was entitled to use a debit card belonging to a frail pensioner aged in her 70s, has been ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.
Samantha Crampsie (34), of Woodburn Crescent, Coleraine, committed offences in September and October 2018.
She also pleaded guilty to the third charge she faced – attempted fraud by false representation regarding the pensioner’s debit card in November 2018.
The court heard amounts of money came out of the card.
The defendant was present at Coleraine Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, on Friday.
Defence barrister Francis Rafferty said: “This is as bad a breach of trust as the court can imagine”.
He said a pre-sentence report showed the defendant had “significant pressures and difficulties” in her life and when they “intersected with desperation” she “took advantage of someone that she owed a trust to”.
The lawyer added: “Thankfully she was caught sooner rather than later”.
He said the defendant had debt and as a result of the conviction it was “very unlikely she will ever obtain work again in any of the caring professions”.
The barrister asked for the judge to take into account the guilty plea and previously clear record.
District Judge Peter King said the offences were “absolutely despicable”.
Had the matter been contested he said he would have had sent Crampsie straight to prison.
He added: “Thankfully, we are dealing with relatively modest sums”.
The judge said they were also dealing with a pattern of behaviour which stopped before it got “much worse”.
He said the custody threshold had been crossed but said there had been a recommendation in a pre-sentence report that as a direct alternative to custody Community Service was open to the court.
The judge said no monies were outstanding to the victim and the “bank had stood up to the plate”.
Judge King ordered the defendant to do 200 hours of Community Service but warned her if she did not complete the work he would take her back to court for re-sentencing.
He told Crampsie: “Don’t put yourself in a position where Hydebank (prison) is the only option the court has”.