Care home worker jailed after stealing €20,000 from resident (86)
A nursing home care assistant who stole almost €20,000 from the bank account of an elderly resident has been jailed.
Carol Cullen (47) had been given two cheques by the 86-year-old woman, with whom she had become friendly, before forging further cheques and stealing a total of €19,900 from her account.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Cullen, a mother-of-four, was not living a lavish lifestyle and the money had been used on household expenditure.
Cullen, of Edenmore Gardens, Coolock, Dublin, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft from the woman and four counts of forgery of cheques on dates between August 2014 and 2015.
She has no previous convictions. The court heard Cullen had co-operated with gardaí and made admissions after they began investigating the thefts. She expressed remorse during interviews.
Keith Spencer BL, defending, said Cullen did not spend the money on anything lavish but instead used it to pay off bills and buy things for her four children.
Judge Karen O'Connor said it had been a significant breech of trust in circumstances where the victim was a vulnerable elderly woman in residential care. She noted it had involved multiple offences and had been motivated by personal gain.
She noted Cullen's husband had a history of alcohol addiction and that Cullen was now living on social welfare as she had been unable to get further care work. Judge O'Connor said she was taking into account factors including that Cullen had a young family and would suffer a loss of reputation. She said she had sympathy with Cullen.
Judge O'Connor imposed a two-year sentence and suspended the final 15 months on strict conditions including that Cullen should engage with financial support services.