No jail for fraudster who stole thousands from boyfriend's vulnerable mother

A fraudster who stole more than £2,000 from her “extremely vulnerable” boyfriend's mother and took out a loan using her identity has been spared jail.

The case was heard at Wolverhampton Crown Court
The case was heard at Wolverhampton Crown Court

Leanne Higginson took out a loan worth £1,800 and spent £2,300 on a bank card in her boyfriend’s mother’s name, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

The 68-year-old victim, who had suffered a stroke, was reliant on Higginson and her son to do her weekly shopping due to mobility issues, a judge heard.

But the defendant went on a shopping spree, using the woman’s bank card to buy toys at Smyths and to take part in trampolining activities, said Mr Gerry Bermingham, prosecuting.

The fraud, which took place from May 25, 2017, to September 14 last year, was stopped after the sister of the victim became suspicious of the “unusual” transactions.

The victim was also contacted by Capital One, from whom Higginson had taken out an online loan.

The defendant made a bid for a further £2,000 in the name of the woman, but it was rejected because of incorrect details.

The victim said in a statement read to the court: “This has been heartbreaking for me.

“Everything was okay until I discovered I had paid out for a bouquet of flowers for my own birthday. I had been overjoyed at the gesture but now I feel betrayed.”

Mr Christopher O’Gorman, defending, said it was an “extremely mean” series of events to maintain a level of lifestyle, but not a luxurious one.

Higginson, aged 30, was now full of remorse for her actions and pleaded guilty to the charges immediately, Mr O’Gorman said.

The defendant, of Castlecroft Road in Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, was given a two-year sentence suspended for 24 months.

She must complete a rehabilitation course, perform 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £2,300 in compensation to the victim.

Recorder Geoffrey Kelly, who passed sentence, said: “The frauds took place when you was a trusted family member of a woman who is extremely vulnerable.

"It’s difficult to imagine someone more vulnerable – she suffers from a brain tumour, has had a stroke, mobility issues and memory loss. You should be thoroughly ashamed of your behaviour.”

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