A TRUSTED care home manager stole cash belonging to vulnerable residents to cope with the costs of his payday loans.
Paul Bowden pocketed £11,888 from the accounts of vulnerable adults living at the Cedar Grange residential home in Ashbrooke, Sunderland, to try to keep on top of his mounting debts.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that the six residents at the home he targeted lacked the ability to sort out their own finances, so the responsibility for their money fell to the 55-year-old, leaving their accounts at his mercy.
A judge said Bowden’s behaviour was a “betrayal” but that he was able to suspend a prison sentence in his case.
The care home boss admitted theft and was sentenced to 14 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months, with supervision, 160 hours’ unpaid work and a four-month night-time curfew.
Judge Paul Sloan told the court that Bowden still has debts of more than £20,000 despite turning to crime.
The judge told him: “I accept that you became involved in payday loan companies and stole money to service your debt.
“It is not a case of money being stolen to pay for luxuries.”
Bowden was sacked after his dishonesty was uncovered by an audit.
Judge Sloan added: “You must understand that this was serious offending, and it is offending that affects public confidence when someone in your position betrays the trust reposed in you.
“You were in a position of authority and trust as manager.
“The offending represents a gross breach of trust.
“You were, in effect, stealing money intended for use by vulnerable residents who were unable to care for themselves.”
The court heard that none of the residents were aware they had been conned out of cash and their individual loses will be repaid by Sunderland City Council.
None of the victims was left without necessities as a result of what happened to them.
The court heard that the adult residents at the home were all the subject of protection orders, meaning that they could not look after their own finances.
Each resident was entitled to an allowance for daily living expenses, which was put into an account held by the city council.
As manager of the Ashbrooke Rangehome, Bowden was required to withdraw the allowances from the account and hand them out accordingly to the residents they were intended for.
But instead, between May 2012 and February this year, Bowden kept large chunks of their cash for himself.
He was collared when the council carried out an audit after he pocketed the home’s petty cash.
In police interview, Bowden, of William Street, Chopwell, Gateshead, made a full confession that he had taken money to make repayments on his loans and help cope with his mortgage.
The court heard that Bowden, who handed in a stack of references to his otherwise positive character, had never been in trouble before and has since found a new job.
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