A carer working in a residential home in Birmingham has been convicted after using the bank card of a woman with learning difficulties to steal almost £6,000.
Manyi Akoebot's theft was finally uncovered after she made the mistake of using the bank card to buy petrol - despite the victim, not even owning a car.
Birmingham Crown Court was told the 43-year-old "vulnerable" victim who was one of the defendant's patients at the home in Erdington, suffered with learning difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as obsessive compulsive disorder and bi-polar.
Suspicions arose in February last year when it was discovered that the woman had made a £38 payment for petrol, although she didn't have a car or drive.
Edward Soulsby, prosecuting, said further investigations were carried out which were helped by the fact that, because of her obsessive compulsive disorder, the victim "religiously" kept records of her payments.
As a result it became clear that a number of transactions had been made, mainly withdrawals from cash points, using her card, which were not matched by receipts, totalling £5,944.
The home narrowed the suspects down to three possible people but before they were questioned Akoebot confessed to taking the money, usually in amounts of £200 and £300.
Mr Soulsby said: "She would accompany the victim on shopping trips that this victim used which was a clever way of covering her tracks. It could easily have been said that the victim took the cash out herself."
He said thefts had gone on over a number of years and it was strongly suspected the defendant could have taken more.
"She was only caught by the error of making petrol," added Mr Soulsby.
The prosecutor told the court she had access to the woman's pin number which was news to other members of staff because the victim normally took care to shield it from them.
Akoebot, 49, of Croydon Road, Erdington, who had previously admitted fraud by abuse of position between April 2019 and February 2021, was handed a 12 month sentence suspended for two years.
She was also ordered to do 80 hours unpaid work.
In passing sentence Recorder Charles Foster said: "This is an extremely serious criminal offence. You were were a carer and that is a position of trust.
"It was a cynical abuse over a considerable period of time.
"You used her cash card to obtain cash from dispensers which the patient herself had used and I agree with the prosecution that this was a cunning and cynical device in order to cover your tracks."
Defending, Mahan Manu said that Akoebot originally came from the Cameroon and that her her mother had been seriously ill with breast cancer.
He said that she had "stupidly and foolishly" taken the money to help pay for chemotherapy.
He said that after coming to the UK in 2004 she obtained qualifications in social care but that her job options were now very limited because of her conviction.