Pair took £400,000 from care home job

Rebecca Purnell
Rebecca Purnell

Two mums who set up a sophisticated fraud to take more than £400,000 from their care home employers - and spend their loot on holidays and a lavish wedding - have been locked up for more than three years.

Melissa Obradovic and Rebecca Purnell, who were working as administrators at Longueville Court Care Home, took a total of £426,140.90 .

Exteriors of Longthorpe Court Care Home EMN-160614-155715009

Exteriors of Longthorpe Court Care Home EMN-160614-155715009

On Monday they appeared at Peterborough Crown Court after pleading guilty to fraud.

They were both jailed for three years and four months.

Jonathan Masters, prosecuting, told the court Obradovic (27) of Elm Close, Yaxley, had admitted two frauds. The first, which involved taking £54,266 from the care home - run by Barchester Health Care .

The fraud involved Obradovic using the details of four former employees to set up payments into her own account.

The fraud was only discovered when HMRC got in touch with the four people chasing up tax. The court was told one victim, now a nurse at Peterborough City Hospital, became so stressed as a result of the action by HMRC she had to take time off work ill.

While investigations into that fraud were taking place, investigators discovered the £400,000 fraud. Both Obradovic and Purnell (33) of Sydney Road, Peterborough, formed a false suppliers company, and over a four year period sent false invoices to Barchester Health Care, pocketing the money.

Mr Masters said the money was spent on holidays and even a ’lavish wedding’ for Purnell.

He said almost all the money had now been spent.

Judge David Farrell, sentencing, said: “This was a very sophisticated fraud involving a number of transactions over a significant period of time”

He added:” The company has clearly suffered. It has affected its reputation and has not been able to spend money on refurbishments and other things it would like to improve resident’s lives.”

Nenad Spasojevic, defending Obradovic, said the mother-of-one had shown remorse, and regretted her actions.

Helen Jones, defending Purnell - who has one daughter of her own, and two children from her husband’s previous relationship - said her client had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and also expressed remorse.

Proceedings to reclaim the money have started.