Care Worker Steals £8,000 from 87-Year-Old Woman to Gamble Online

Elderly woman
The care worker admitted the theft and received a suspended jail sentence.

30-second summary

  • Theft took place over a 10-month period
  • Stolen money totaled £7,616
  • Victim may have thought only £20 was missing
  • Son realized money was being withdrawn
  • Victim died before care worker could apologize

A care worker has been sentenced after stealing nearly £8,000 ($10,400) from an 87-year-old woman’s bank account to fund her gambling.

Yvette Thomas, 36, from Middlesbrough, UK, is reported to have taken £7,617 ($9,963) between December 2016 and September 2017, according to Gazette Live.

Abusing position of trust

Thomas was eventually caught after the victim’s son noticed large amounts of money being withdrawn and bets made on Sky Bet on her statement. Money was also being transfered into Thomas’ PayPal account.

The victim, however, is believed to have not known the full extent of the theft, which Thomas admitted to. Prosecutor Nigel Soppitt noted that she may have thought only £20 ($26) was missing.

“She said if they admitted their guilt, the could make it up with work,” he added. “She was happy with that, but not if they were thrown in prison. It perhaps shows the nature of the complainant.”

While Halifax Bank bore the loss by paying the 87-year-old her money back, Thomas found she had no opportunity to apologize for her actions before the victim died, the report states.

According to Peter Sabiston, defending, Thomas understood that she betrayed a friendship and trust, something that “weighs very heavily on her shoulders.”

He added: “The death only increases her guilt. She wishes she was in a position to apologize personally, but sadly that won’t be possible. It may be something that she’ll have to bear for the rest of her life.”

Financial difficulties

Thomas is reported to have committed the theft during a period when her mother was battling cancer, now in remission, a family bereavement, her partner leaving her, and financial difficulties.

During sentencing, Judge Sean Morris stated: “Your partner had left you. You had a teenage child and a five-year-old to look after. That does not give you the right to steal an old lady’s bank card and use it for your gambling. You’d have nobody to blame but yourself.”

Adding that it would be a produce a “devastating effect” on her five-year-old if Thomas was taken away, Morris gave her a 10-month jail term suspended for 18 months. Thomas was also placed under a curfew between 8.30pm and 7am for six months, and ordered to do 200 hours’ of unpaid work.

Not the first time

As noted by Judge Morris, this was another case where online gambling companies make plenty of money while causing misery in many people’s lives.

Last December, a man from the UK pleaded guilty after stealing £1m ($1.26m) from his employer to fund his gambling addiction. The man, who was in charge of the company accounts, transferred the money from the business to his own account.

At the start of January, it was reported that a British accountant had been jailed for five years after stealing more than £400,000 ($503,000) from her employers over a seven-year period and spending on gambling. The 40-year-old woman may have spent as much as £1.2m ($1.5m) on online sports betting from 2009 to 2016.

But what may be considered the most outlandish case is one that involved two nuns from a Catholic school in California. Early December, it was reported that the two of them had stolen as much as $500,000 (£400,000) over a 10-year period to fund their weekend gambling trips to Las Vegas.