A care worker who stole hundreds of pounds from elderly women living in care homes to spend on Christmas presents has avoided an immediate jail sentence.
Florina Szitas (30) of Warren Court, Hampton Hargate, worked as an agency worker in a number of care homes when she took the cards from two women - one who suffered Parkinson’s and one who suffered from dementia - in November and December last year.
Szitas used the cards’ contactless payment facilities to rack up a bill of £236.87 on one card, and £108.31 on the other.
She was caught after the son of her first victim noticed the irregular payments.
Yesterday (Wednesday) Peterborough Magistrates’ Court heard police went to her home on December 11 but she was not in, and they left a message with a housemate.
Giles Beaumont, prosecuting, said: “She contacted police at 8pm on December 11 – but on the same day three payments were made on the second card after 8pm.”
The second card was found by police when they searched her when she attended the police station.
Claire Thornley, defending, said Szitas had been extremely remorseful, and had made full admissions. The court was told the banks had compensated the two victims.
Chair magistrate Allison Marsh told Romanian Szitas: “You are very foolish, and you came very, very close to going to prison.”
Szitas pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position and two counts of theft.
She was given a 24 week prison sentence for each offence, suspended for 18 months. She was also ordered to take part in 20 rehabilitation activity days, and ordered to pay £115 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.