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Woman sentenced to prison for fraud and theft

19 Nov 2019
  • Rosemary Mills, age 50 of Stockbreach Road, Hatfield, appeared at St Albans Crown Court on Thursday 14 November

  • She was sentenced to a year in prison for fraud and theft after she took advantage of an elderly relative

  • The court heard how Mills used the victim's bank card for online transactions, cash withdrawals, card payments and iTunes payments

A woman has been sentenced to a year in prison for fraud and theft after she took advantage of an elderly relative she was supposed to be caring for.

Rosemary Mills, age 50 of Stockbreach Road, Hatfield, appeared at St Albans Crown Court on Thursday 14 November. She had pleaded guilty on Tuesday 12 November to stealing £2858.30 from the victim.

The court heard how the victim had given their bank card to Mills in March 2017. The victim had trusted Mills to buy toiletries for them and withdraw money on their behalf.

In November 2017, the victim requested that Mills return the bank card because her visits to the victim at their care home had become infrequent and when she did visit, she would not bring any money with her.

When the victim requested that she return the bank card, Mills told them that they didn’t need it and that she would continue to look after it.

At the beginning of February 2018, Mills suddenly returned the victim’s bank card and left it with the care home staff. Shortly after this, the victim was taken for a visit to a garden centre by another family member. During the visit, they went to an ATM machine and requested a bank balance.

The victim immediately realised that their bank balance was a lot less than it should have been. As a result, bank statements were ordered to check what had happened.

The bank statements showed a range of fraudulent activity. These included online transactions, cash withdrawals, card payments and iTunes payments.

Members of the family grew suspicious of Mills as they recalled her insistence on keeping the bank card despite the victim requesting it back. On 13 March 2018, they phoned Mills to tell her of these transactions. Mills denied being responsible and when the other family members suggested that the card could have been cloned, she agreed.

The following day, they called Mills again hoping that she would make admissions. They told Mills that they were going to the bank to report the fraudulent activity.

On returning from the bank later that afternoon, Mills phoned the other family members and she admitted to spending the money. She asked them not to call police and said she could pay the money back at £25 per week as that was all she could afford.

On 27 March 2018, Mills was arrested on suspicion of theft and taken to Stevenage Police Station.

Upon sentencing, Judge Warner described Mills as ‘unpleasant, mean, selfish and heartless’.

In addition to the custodial sentence, a restraining order has been put in place against the victim, preventing Mills from contacting them.

Detective Constable Sarah Hopkins, from the Constabulary’s Safeguarding Adults from Abuse Unit, said: “Stealing from any victim is bad enough, but stealing from a vulnerable family member who trusts and loves you is especially cruel. I hope that Mills spends her time in prison reflecting on the severity of her actions and the pain it caused to the victim and wider family.”

Hertfordshire Constabulary urges people to keep an eye on older or vulnerable family members, neighbours and friends. If you suspect anyone is taking advantage of an elderly or vulnerable adult, you can contact police in several ways. You can report information online at herts.police.uk/report, speak to an operator in our Force Communications Room via our online web chat at herts.police.uk/contact or call the non-emergency number 101. 

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