Carer who stole £126,000 from pensioner faces enquiry into her finances

This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.

A conwoman faces an inquiry into her finances after duping a rich widow out of £126,160.

The action was ordered today (Monday, October 30) as Tanya Benjamin, 60, was brought in custody to Nottingham Crown Court.

She has been held in prison since being convicted last week of theft and fraud of an 85-year-old woman.

During her trial, Benjamin said the money was a "love gift" but was found guilty by a jury.

At the fresh hearing, prosecutor Edna Leonard asked for moves to be taken under the terms of the Proceeds of Crime Act. This enables courts to claw back profits from offenders.

Miss Leonard said: "There is obviously money still missing. As I recall, £7,000 is still unaccounted for.

"There is money from the bank which is subject to a restraint order by the police. That can be released under the umbrella of the Proceeds of Crime Act."

Judge Timothy Spencer QC ordered Benjamin to provide a sworn statement of her assets by November 27.

He said that he wanted cash repaid to the victim "sooner rather than later."

The judge told Benjamin: "If you didn't know already, let me spell it out. You are in an extremely serious position.

"I will sentence you on December 15. Do you understand that?" Benjamin replied: "Yes, sir."

Miss Leonard suggested that a new form of ASBO could be imposed on Benjamin of Ryeroft Street, Stapleford, to help keep her out of trouble.

But she said it could be "nigh on impossible" to check that it was being followed. One condition might bar Benjamin from seeing older people, the hearing was told.

Miss Leonard added: "The defendant is 60 and such an order would deny her friendship with people of her own age."

David Outterside, defending, said a psychiatrist has been appointed to examine Benjamin and compile a report for the day she is sentenced. Probation officers will also look at the case.

There was no application for Benjamin to be released on bail until she is sentenced. Mr Outterside told the judge: "There is no sensible address."

But he said a written plea could be made if an address can be found for Benjamin, who wore a pale blue mohair jumper with a silver design around the collar for the 15-minute hearing.

On the day she was found guilty, the court was told that Benjamin had been living in a car with her two dogs.

During the trial, the jury was told that Benjamin was given a cheque for £160 and later one for £126,000 on the day that the OAP went into respite care.

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Benjamin said she met the Beeston woman through a fellow Christian. They agreed initially for her to visit twice weekly "to read her the Bible, talk about the Lord, companionship."

When the £160 cheque was handed over, Benjamin said it was "a love gift." She was asked how she felt to be give the £126,000 cheque and told the jury: "I was speechless."

But the prosecution alleged that she "helped herself to blank cheques." She was convicted of theft of cheques and fraud by false representation.