Elderly woman left in overdraft by neighbour

An 87-year-old victim was left in overdraft and having to borrow money from her niece after a neighbour ripped her off by more than $2000.

Mary Patricia Dawson, 56, appeared in the Invercargill District Court for sentence on Tuesday on five charges of using a document for pecuniary advantage.

Judge Christina Cook said the victim was Dawson's 87-year-old neighbour.

Dawson had gone to the victim's house and taken her Westpac visa debit card without authority, using it to withdraw $300 from an ATM.

She later took another $300, and then another $500 before returning the card.

On March 12 she repeated her actions, taking the card before withdrawing $600 and $440.

She used the card a total of five times, withdrawing a total of $2140, Judge Cook said.

The offending was discovered when a family member of the victim noticed the withdrawals, she said.

When questioned, Dawson said she took the money because she owed money to someone and she had also gambled some.

A victim impact report said the offending had caused significant financial loss to the victim, who had to pay overdraft fees, borrow money from her niece and change her bank account and access, Judge Cook said.

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The victim had also changed her habits at home and no longer trusted people who came in to her home, she said.

The offending was a "repeated abuse of trust", Judge Cook said.

She sentenced Dawson to four months' community detention, nine months' supervision and ordered her to pay $2140 reparation.

An application for name suppression was declined.

 - The Southland Times

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