Elderly mother-in-law’s missing $80k dumped on pokies
A 59-year-old woman from the Moreton Bay region has been jailed for three years for stealing almost $80,000 from her senile mother-in law over a period of three-and-half years to feed her pokies addiction.
The lengthy but "unsophisticated" theft was revealed when the 93-year-old victim wanted to go on a cruise with her daughter and discovered her savings account held a meagre $13.49.
She believed she had saved more than $100,000 from her dual pensions.
Morayfield woman Helen Ann Millin, 59, was charged with aggravated stealing (more than $5000) for her conduct, which occurred between October 7, 2014 - January 20, 2018 when she lived at Park Ridge South.
Beenleigh Magistrates Court heard the elderly victim moved in with Millin and her then-husband following the passing of the victim's husband.
When her health deteriorated, the unemployed Millin began caring for her.
Part of Millin's duties included taking her mother-in-law's bank card to the ATM weekly to withdraw money to cover living expenses and to buy "cigarettes and scotch".
The elderly woman "never checked her balance", the court heard.
In May 2017, she decided to take a cruise with her daughter and some other family and asked her daughter to print a bank statement, which revealed her account had been virtually cleaned out.
It wasn't until a year later, in June 2018, that Millin admitted to taking the money to feed her gambling addiction and she promised to reimburse the money.
The full amount stolen was $79,588.08.
Defence lawyer Kris Jahnke said the offending occurred in the context of a domestic violence relationship where Millin had no means of independently supporting herself.
"She looked after her mother-in-law at the behest of her partner," Mr Jahnke said.
Millin's ex-husband paid her $150 a week to look after his mother, he said.
"She is extremely remorseful and there will be full restitution."
The court heard Millin had since moved in with a new, supportive partner and as of this week had found full-time employment.
However, these positive developments in her life were not enough for Magistrate Louise Shephard to allow the sentence to be served entirely in the community, although she conceded she found it a "difficult" sentence.
"There was a serious and significant breach of trust against an elderly and vulnerable family member," Ms Shephard said.
Millin was ordered to serve four months of her three year jail term. A conviction was recorded.
Originally published as Mum-in-law's missing $80k dumped on pokies