Redbourn care worker sentenced for stealing thousands of pounds from elderly victims
PUBLISHED: 14:06 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:19 15 March 2019
A carer from Redbourn has been found guilty of fraud after stealing money from elderly people in St Albans and Hatfield.
Sixty-year-old Carolyn McClune, also known as Carolyn Bouvier, of High Street, was charged with four counts of fraud after the court heard she tried to take more than £126,000 belonging to three elderly and vulnerable victims.
She was found guilty following an eight-week trial at St Albans Crown Court on Friday, March 1, and was sentenced today to five years and nine months in custody.
The main victim was an 85-year-old woman who lived in St Albans. McClune, who was self-employed under the company name Blue Bell Care, became the victim’s sole carer in 2014, and made online transfers of more than £44,000 from the victim’s bank account to her own, on the pretence that it was payment for a new kitchen, which in reality only cost £9,000.
McClune also withdrew thousands of pounds of the victim’s cash for herself, stealing £88,613.32 in total between September 2014 and August 2015.
In 2013, McClune became the live-in carer of an 82-year-old woman in Hatfield. She withdrew £9,044 in cash from the woman’s bank account, and continued to withdraw more than £300 after the victim moved to a care home, before being arrested in 2016.
The third victim was a vulnerable 69-year-old man from St Albans. McClune opened a joint bank account with him and forged his signature on three pension cheques payable to him, including a lump sum from his pension company of £27,548.32.
She made large cash withdrawals for herself and transferred thousands of pounds to her own bank accounts.
DC Lee Hill, from Herts police’s Safeguarding Adults from Abuse (SAFA) team, said: “McClune gained the trust of elderly vulnerable people. She became a valued carer and friend, before deceiving them and stealing their pensions and life savings.
“She was a carer for the two female victims and befriended the male victim. Sadly, two of McClune’s victims have since died and one is now living in a nursing home in poor health.
“We thoroughly investigated complex the financial arrangements that McClune had put in place to deceive people who had put their trust in her.
“We don’t know what she did with the money as she does not have a lavish lifestyle but it’s possible she has invested it or passed it on to family or friends.
“If she comes into money in the future, it will be subject to another court hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).”
The SAFA investigation was carried out in liaison with a financial investigator from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU).
The financial investigator, during her enquiries, discovered McClune had at least 11 bank accounts at seven different banks.
The original trial took place in May 2018 but the jury had to be disbanded when one of the victims died of natural causes during the court case.
Prosecuting barrister Jack Talbot described McClune as “devious, deceptive and dishonest” and that she saw the victims as “low hanging fruit, too tempting to resist”.
DC Hill said: “I am pleased that McClune has been found guilty and we have been able to stop her from taking advantage of any other elderly and vulnerable people in the future.”