Dental nurse took £70,000 from elderly aunt that was needed for care payments

A dental nurse who embezzled more than £70,000 from her elderly aunt that was due to pay for her long term care is facing a lengthy jail sentence.

Kerry Sinclair's scam was only uncovered when care payments couldn't be met.
Kerry Sinclair's scam was only uncovered when care payments couldn't be met.

Kerry Sinclair took the massive amount of cash from relative Jessie Sutherland after she had been made power of attorney to look after the pensioner’s financial affairs.

Sinclair, 39, arranged for Mrs Sutherland’s home to be sold to pay for the fees due to the care home she had been placed in by the family.

But Sinclair - who had previously been declared bankrupt - started taking large sums of Mrs Sutherland’s cash by making debit and cash withdrawals from her bank account over an 18 month period.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told the heartless scam was only uncovered after the care home payments could not be met and the local authority began an investigation.

Sinclair, of Granton, Edinburgh, appeared at the city’s sheriff court on Friday and admitted embezzling £71,425.63 between November 9, 2017 and May 5, 2019.

Prosecutor Jack Castor said Mrs Sutherland was diagnosed with vascular dementia and her health began to rapidly deteriorate in 2016.

Her niece Sinclair was said to be “a regular visitor” to her aunt’s home in the Warriston area of the capital.

The court heard she then convinced Mrs Sutherland’s son James for her to be made power of attorney to manage her aunt’s financial affairs.

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The fiscal said Sinclair should not have been allowed to hold the position of power of attorney due to her being made bankrupt in 2016.

The fiscal said Mrs Sutherland, then aged 68, was homed at the city’s Gylemuir House care home in June 2017 and was said to have “sufficient funds” to meet the fees herself.

She was then moved to the Forthland Lodge care home later that year and Sinclair subsequently contacted her cousin James to say the funds had run out and Mrs Sutherland’s home needs to be sold.

The house was sold for £155,000 in May 2018 but Sinclair contacted City of Edinburgh Council 12 months later to inform them her aunt did not have the money to continue paying for care.

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Council officials began an investigation into Mrs Sutherland’s finances and a shortfall of around £75,000 was identified.

The court heard the council probe identified Sinclair, a part-time worker dental nurse, had been making debit and cash withdrawals from Jessie’s account.

Mr Castor added Mrs Sutherland passed away on December 12 last year aged 72 but had been able to remain at the care home with the fees being paid by the local authority.

Sheriff Wendy Sheehan told Sinclair she should be “under no illusion custody is at the forefront of the court’s mind”.

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The sheriff added: “I appreciate that you regularly cared for your aunt and you visited her regularly both at home and at the care home and there is no doubt you cared for her, but you were in a position of trust.”

Sinclair was released on bail and sentence was deferred for reports to next month.

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