A pensioner swindled her “good friend” with dementia out of more than £8,000 – and spent the money on milk and dog grooming.
Agnes Gibb or Clark was granted power of attorney over the financial affairs of her friend, aged 79, who was in ill health.
But as well as helping her with cleaning and shopping, the 73-year-old siphoned off thousands of pounds of her pal’s money between March 2012 and November 2013.
And Clark, amongst other things, spend the cash at a hairdresser, on milk and newspaper deliveries, taxi fares and even a dog groomer.
Fiscal depute Colin Neilson told Aberdeen Sheriff Court: “The complainer resided alone in Portsoy following the death of her husband.
“She died in November 2013. She had no family who lived nearby.
“She was largely self-sufficient until 2011 when she suffered a stroke. She also had a vascular disease and was suffering from dementia. She would buy biscuits for her husband, forgetting that he had died a few years previously.”
In late 2011 the woman’s GP was concerned she could no longer look after herself and was advised to seek a power of attorney.
Mr Neilson said: “Having no relatives nearby, the complainer suggested the accused would be suitable. She described the accused as a good friend.”
Clark was appointed given power of attorney in March 2012 and was advised by solicitors of her role including her duty to “act in the best interests of the complainer”.
Mr Neilson said: “Increasingly during the time of the libel, the complainer required a high level of support with daily activities including eating, medication and hygiene.
“Eventually there were four carers attending per day.
“The carers became aware of the accused cleaning the complainer’s house and doing her shopping.
“After the complainer’s death in November 2013, her niece began the process of winding up the complainer’s assets.
“She contacted Clydesdale Bank to obtain copies of the complainer’s bank statements.
“On receipt of the statements, she noticed there were numerous large cash withdrawals as well as a suspicious regular use of the complainer’s bank card in shops.
“She did not think it likely that the complainer had spent this much. She suspected monies had been embezzled by the accused.
“She contacted the police who identified a large number of ATM withdrawals with no pattern.
“The frequency of the withdrawals and the amounts withdrawn varied from week to week.
“The complainer’s money had been spent on a hairdresser, milk delivery, newspaper delivery, taxi fares, a local dog groomer and energy payments.
“It is unknown what the other cash withdrawals were spent on.
“The total amount embezzled by the accused during the period of the libel was £8,171.70.”
Clark, of Gordon Crescent, Portsoy, pled guilty to a charge of embezzlement.
Defence agent Gregor Kelly said his client had “found things very difficult” and highlighted the length of time the matter had been hanging over her head due to various delays in the case.
Mr Kelly said Clark was “embarrassed and ashamed” and had no previous convictions.
He said she was on benefits and not in a position to repay the money, adding: “She was very fond of the complainer and realises she abused that trust and must pay the penalty.
“I don’t think we’ll see her in court again.”
Sheriff Philip Mann told Clark: “Quite honestly, this case I find quite difficult to decide how to deal with.
“On the one hand, there has been a gross breach of trust which has resulted in a very substantial sum of money being embezzled from this lady.
“I suppose one of the saving graces is the lady herself would have been blissfully unaware of what you were doing, so there’s no issue of you causing her any distress.
“The other thing I weigh in balance is you have had this hanging over your head for some considerable time.”
He ordered Clark to be supervised for two years and to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work as an alternative to a custodial sentence.