Homecare fraudster facing jail after taking money from client's accounts

A woman providing care for elderly people in their own home has been warned she faces jail after admitting running a fraudulent business for over two years.

Charlotte Sherwood further pleaded guilty to dishonestly abusing her position by allowing a total of £60,000 to be removed from the bank accounts of 92-year-old Geoffrey Cook and 86-year-old Rita Round into her account, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

The 46-year-old also admitted stealing £5,544 in five months from Ms Round by continuing to pocket her monthly fee through a standing order while knowing she was no longer one of her clients and being looked after in a care home. The £60,000 was returned by her to both Mr Cook and Ms Round at a later date.

The business of the defendant, who lives at Albert Street, Stourbridge, was initially called Charlotte's Care Services Ltd but later changed to C S Homecare Ltd.

It was registered as a company in January 2016 and signed on with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in May that year. This allowed her to legally provide a series of regulated and personal care activities.

The CQC inspected the business in February 2017 when it had 11 clients and gave its services an overall rating of "requires improvement."

Sherwood cancelled the company's registration on June 10 2017 claiming this was because it no longer provided personal care for clients aged over 18 and would be ceasing to trade following the death of several clients.

She pleaded guilty to that being either untrue or misleading and also admitted running the business dishonestly from that date until September 27 2019.

Sherwood further conceded dishonestly abusing her position of a carer expected to safeguard and not to act against the financial interests of her clients by paying a £20,000 cheque from Mr Cook into her NatWest Cash ISA account to make a gain for herself or expose him to risk of loss.

She pleaded guilty to a similar offence in which payments totalling £40,000 were transferred from Ms Round's bank into her NatWest Select account between May 14 and 24 in 2018.

The £60,000 payments were subsequently returned in full by the defendant.

She also admitted acquiring money from the fraudulent trading of C S Homecare Ltd between April 9 2018 and September 17 2019.

Sherwood, who was of previous good character, was given bail while a pre-sentence report was prepared and will be sentenced on March 18.

Ms Abigail Nixon, defending, conceded: "She knows the sentence is likely to be custody."

Judge Dean Kerhaw agreed but told the defendant: "I am not trying to frighten you but I want to ensure you are prepared."

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