Woman guilty of swindling elderly victim out of €90,000

A 60-year-old woman has been handed down a suspended sentence and ordered to repay €90,000 she defrauded from an elderly woman she took care of

The magistrate ruled that the perpetrator used deception to get the elderly woman to sign blank cheques
The magistrate ruled that the perpetrator used deception to get the elderly woman to sign blank cheques

A Rabat housewife was handed a suspended sentence and ordered to repay within six months, the €90,000 she defrauded from an elderly woman.

The judgment was handed down by Magistrate Astrid May Grima against 60-year-old Michelina Grech.

The court heard how Grech had spent years taking care of her elderly neighbour’s needs, initially without payment, but later on charging €400 per month as her duties increased.

The victim’s brother would withdraw her cash under power of attorney and the victim would sign for them.

Between December 2014 and August 2015, the elderly lady signed several cheques in favour of Grech, totalling €90,900, telling her to do what was necessary as she trusted her.

In April 2015, the victim was admitted to an old people’s home, with the accused visiting her every day. It was around that time that the victim’s brother had contacted the bank when he saw how much money was going out of his sister’s savings account.

Having power of attorney, he was given copies of his sister’s cheques, which included payments to the home, telecommunications companies as well as Michelina and her brother David Grech. It also emerged that the woman had left Michelina Grech some €100,000 in her will.

The accused testified that had she been paid for all the hours she spent with the victim, the total amount would exceed €103,000 and that the elderly woman had wanted to pass on the money to her while she was still alive.

But the elderly victim had also testified, telling the court that she had not known that thousands of euros of her money were being withdrawn by the accused in such a short period of time, adding that she could not have foreseen the accused acting this way.

In fact, noted the court, when she noticed that Grech had taken over €90,000, she had changed her will to remove the €100,000 she was planning on leaving the woman.

Magistrate Grima ruled that Grech had used deception when she would give the elderly victim blank cheques to sign, without indicating who to, how much, or why the amounts were to be paid.

The magistrate also ordered the defendant to repay the €90,900 within six months.

Lawyer Franco Debono and Martin Fenech were defence counsel.

Lawyer Joe Giglio appeared on behalf of the victim.

Inspector Shawn Friggieri prosecuted.