‘Desperate’ Whitsunday mum defrauds disability client
A disability carer who stole hundreds of dollars from her vulnerable client says she was driven to do it by her son's drug addiction.
Jeanette Margarett Morris is now living in Cannonvale, but was working in Brisbane when she took her victim to Sunnybank Plaza three times to withdraw cash between March and July last year.
In total she swindled $1000 from the woman.
During proceedings at Proserpine Magistrates Court on Monday, Senior Constable Sarah Rowe said Morris' victim was a permanent resident of UnitingCare and lived with cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability.
In March last year, Morris took the woman to Sunnybank Plaza to withdraw $300, then in June they withdrew $500.
In July, $200 was withdrawn.
Sen-Constable Rowe said a UnitingCare lead practitioner was conducting an audit in September to ensure the victim's finance ledger and bank account matched up.
The practitioner noticed there was a discrepancy and after questioning Morris, the 74-year-old woman admitted she took the cash.
After that, Morris handed in her resignation and paid back the money.
In court on Monday, Morris pleaded guilty to fraud.
Lawyer Peta Vernon said Morris had been working with UnitingCare for 20 years.
Ms Vernon told the court Morris' youngest son was a drug addict and was always asking for money.
"He always promised to pay it back and never did or if it was paid back it was in minor amounts and in fits and spurts," Ms Vernon said.
"She instructs that she simply got in over her head, she got desperate.
"She knows what she has done is just a terrible thing.
"She loved her job, she just got into a situation that seemed untenable at the time."
Ms Vernon said Morris moved to the Whitsundays to be closer to her other son and had paid the funds back to the victim.
Magistrate James Morton told Morris if she had a history for fraud, she would be sent to jail.
"You are put in a position of trust to look over someone who is vulnerable," Mr Morton said.
"Disgraceful, I do not know how you look at yourself.
"This strikes at the heart of the trust component."
Morris was fined $600 and no convictions were recorded.