Cleaner who scammed ill 93-year-old veteran out of £200,000 told to pay £67,000
A cleaner who fleeced a 93-year-old blind veteran with dementia out of more than £200,000 has been ordered to repay £67,017 or face a further 18 months in jail.
Veronica Robinson, who claims to be almost penniless, is already serving a five and a half year sentence following her conviction for fraud by abuse of position and attempting to pervert the course of justice after a Wolverhampton Crown Court trial in March 2017.
The scheming 63-year-old isolated the wealthy widower from friends and family, allowing her to take control of his money after she started work at his Black Country home in August 2013.
She spent £188,000 of his savings buying a house in Beecher Street, Halesowen, for herself which she was forced to return to the family in February 2016.
The victim, who served in the North Atlantic during the Second World War, has since died.
Robinson also persuaded him to sign 34 cheques, 28 of which were written by her, and to withdraw a further £62,400 from his account at a Halesowen bank during the 19 months she worked for him.
Where is the money?
That money has never been accounted for and, with interest, has now risen to £67,017.
As a result, when Robinson returned to court from prison to face a Proceeds of Crime case Judge Barry Berlin ordered her to repay the full amount including interest.
She had the responsibility of explaining what happened to the money she pocketed from the man but failed to do so.
The judge concluded: “She has no plausible explanation for where it has gone.”
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Mr Mark Jackson, prosecuting on behalf of Dudley Council who brought the initial case, suggested she could have as much as £244,388 in hidden assets.
Robinson, who lived in High Haden Road in Cradley Heath after returning to this country from Australia, told the court: “I do not have hidden assets.”
One of her bank accounts was said to be £100 in debt while another was reported as having just £90 in it.
She said she regretted not having enough money to send her son to university and Mr Henry Skudra, defending, said she would have provided for the teenager had she been able to.
Emma Taylor, a member of staff at the estate agent involved in the sale of the Beecher Street house, told Robinson’s trial that the defendant showed her an ‘old fashioned-style’ bank book which indicated there was £200,000 in the account but would not let it be copied.
It was accepted as proof of sufficient funds to buy the property without a mortgage on October 29, 2014, before the £188,000 cheque from the victim was written on November 12, 2014, the court heard.
Money from the sale of her Australian home and an insurance pay out would have totalled £202,000 and might explain where the money come from, it was claimed.
The defendant denied this, but Judge Berlin said: “I accept what Emma Taylor told the court.”
He concluded Robinson's claim to have always dealt with another member of staff during the deal conflicted with the evidence she gave during her trial when she admitted meeting Ms Taylor on the day in question but denied showing her a bank book.
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