Auckland man jailed for theft of $125,000 from elderly mother

A man has been sentenced after stealing his mother's life savings.
NARUEDOM YAEMPNGSA/123RF

A man has been sentenced after stealing his mother's life savings.

An Auckland man has been jailed for more than two years after siphoning $125,000 out of the bank account of his elderly mother, who suffered from dementia. 

The man, who has name suppression, stole the funds over a six-year period, leaving nothing left in the 86-year-old's account. 

He plead guilty to a charge of theft by a person in a special relationship and appeared for sentencing at the North Shore District Court, where Judge Greg Davis said the man's offending had a number of aggravating factors. 

According to a summary of facts, the man and his two brothers had been given power of attorney over his mother and late father's accounts in 2009 but weren't allowed to use the assets or cash for their own purposes. 

However the man said his mother, who was living in a care facility, gave him permission to take money for his own bills or household items. 

Between 2009 and 2015, the man used a passbook and withdrawal slips at banks on Auckland's North Shore and managed to take $125,000.

His offending was only revealed when there was no money left in the account and an automatic payment was dishonoured. 

Judge Davis said the man had breached his mother's trust. 

"There was no doubt that over the course of the remainder of her life she was going to need to draw on those funds for her own specific needs," he said.  

"Whether that was in the form of funds being made available to pay for the rest home care, funds being made available to pay for any other medical issues that may not have been covered by the general rest home fees, all of that now appears to have been fallen by the wayside.  

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"In addition to that it appears that funds that would have been used to pay for your father's headstone and, indeed, your mother's headstone and funeral costs will now also not be available to her." 

The court was told the man had twice been made redundant and had his own family to support and that his spending of the cash wasn't extravagant, but Judge Davis said that was no excuse for the offending. 

No victim impact statement was made to the court, because of the woman's health, but the man's brother said he had to assume responsibility for paying his mother's bills. 

"So not only is your mother a victim here but it appears so, too, is one of your brothers," Judge Davis said. 

Judge Davis jailed the man for two years and one month, and ordered he repay $5000 to his mother following his release. 

 - Stuff

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