Care home boss in cash swindle

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A CARE home manager has been struck off after pretending to be a resident’s next of kin to set up her bank account in his name.

David Riley regularly accepted cash gifts from a vulnerable woman he was supposed to be looking after while working at Eagle Lodge Care Home in Ferry Road, run by the Salvation Army.

Today, patients groups branded Riley’s actions “appalling” and questioned how he could “stoop so low” as to exploit a vulnerable pensioner.

Riley had been employed as manager at the charity-run 33-bed unit – which provides care for older people who can no longer live independently – between April 2009 and October 2010.

But charity bosses became suspicious when they discovered instances where residents’ money could not be accounted for.

The Scottish Social Services hearing was told that Riley had assigned himself as someone’s next of kin – a move contravening company policy.

He later denied these actions when asked by senior charity management.

But an internal investigation was launched after he failed to ensure £1000 owed to the patient was paid by the charity’s finance department.

Mr Riley then opened a bank account for the resident – who has not been identified – in his own name and later claimed she had signed documents giving him permission to do so.

This was later proved to be false.

The hearing also heard that under his leadership the quality of care at the home plummeted so steeply that it faced closure unless urgent improvements were made.

Its rankings plunged from “good” to “weak” following a number of inspections, prompting the care watchdog to issue an improvement 
notice.

Demands for residents to have “access to their money at all times” and to ensure money was “stored securely” were ignored, the hearing was told.

Mr Riley admitted misconduct and has now been struck off the SSSC register pending an appeal.

Dr Jean Turner, a former GP and executive director of the Scotland Patients Association, said he had failed in his duty to care for “vulnerable people”.

She said: “It’s appalling that anybody would stoop so low and take advantage of a vulnerable person.

“I hope this case goes as a warning to others that procedures are in place to protect the vulnerable and there are consequences to dishonest 
actions.”

kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com