Niece ripped off pensioner to fund extravagances

A SUFFOLK woman who defrauded her own aunt and spent the money on home improvements and holidays has been spared an immediate jail term.

Gloria Firman, 60, of Purcell Road, Stowmarket, was asked to care for Winifred Greengrass but, between January 2005 and December last year, embezzled �40,000 from the 92-year-old by taking unauthorised control of her property to pay for luxury purchases for her own home, including a new kitchen and bedroom.

Ipswich Crown Court yesterday heard that Firman, who had admitted a charge of criminal conversion, was currently caring for her sick mother and father - neither of whom were aware of her crime, despite living next door.

Charles Judge, defending Firman, explained: “They simply don’t know what has been happening.

“If she were to lose her liberty, her husband will have the unfortunate task of telling them why their daughter is not going round to look after them.”

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But Judge David Goodin said her parent’s ignorance would have no bearing on the sentence he was required by law to impose. He told Firman: “When you agreed to the attorney of your aunt you took up a position of trust which you comprehensively betrayed over a period of three or four years with this greedy and mean crime.

“It may well have benefited you and your family to the tune of a better kitchen, a rather nice bedroom suite and holidays that I fancy your aunt didn’t go on while her nursing home fees stacked up.

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“I’m sorely tempted to send you straight to prison but can’t quite find it in my heart to do that.

“The offence richly merits imprisonment but your punishment really is the shame and ignominy you have clearly brought upon yourself.”

Judge Goodin sentenced Firman to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years. She will also have to carry out 300 hours of unpaid community work.

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