Margaret Henderson (61) withdrew the money from her 94-year-old mum’s account over a period of almost two years and lost it all playing online bingo games.
Henderson appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court last Thursday, having pled guilty to the theft she committed at her home in 27 Temple Denny Road, Denny between January 1, 2013 and October 3, 2014.
Siobhan Monks, procurator fiscal depute, said Henderson was given appointeeship of her mother’s finances and Falkirk Council social services soon noticed money was being taken from the account.
She added: “It was noticed her mother’s payments for care expenses were in arrears. Social workers made some inquiries and realised other charges had not been paid, including council tax.
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“A care worker reviewed the bank statements and saw a number of transactions that didn’t seem consistent with a 94-year-old lady with dementia.
“During the period £5000 had been withdrawn from the account by the accused. It was spent on a variety of online gambling sites. She admitted she was a compulsive gambler and had been spending her mum’s money.”
The court heard Henderson had no previous history of offending and her family had all clubbed in together to pay back the money owed.
Defence solicitor William McIntyre said: “She watched her mother’s condition deteriorate and became very depressed. She suffers from agoraphobia and found herself housebound.
“For some reason she saw an outlet in the internet and became addicted to online gambling and online bingo in particular. She used the money she took from her mother’s account to rack up some serious losses.
“She is pleased in a way the matter came to light and is going to pay her family back, She is no longer in charge of her mother’s financial affairs, but still sees her every day.”
Sheriff John Mundy placed Henderson on a community payback order with the condition she complete 150 hours of unpaid work within six months.