Forger mum plundered vulnerable aunt’s savings
A MOTHER-OF-THREE who plundered a ‘vulnerable’ relative’s life savings by forging cheques has been jailed for almost three years.
Kelly Ann Callec (36) admitted that between April 2013 and July 2015 she falsely signed and wrote 38 cheques worth £46,236 in the name of her 68-year-old aunt, who had been diagnosed with dementia, and deposited them in her own bank account.
It is believed that she might have stolen as much as £92,000 altogether, including by also carrying out fraudulent debit card transactions, the Royal Court heard.
Her aunt has since moved into a care home in the UK and while her financial situation is unclear, the court heard that she owed parish rates dating back to 2011 and income tax as far back as 2008.
Concerns grew about the vulnerable lady’s circumstances after her brother travelled from England to visit her home in 2014 and discovered a large amount of unopened mail and unpaid bills.
He returned a year later after his sister suffered a suspected stroke and was hospitalised. After discovering she had not paid income tax and rates for years, he decided to inspect her bank statements.
This led him to discover that a cheque for £2,000 had been paid out from her bank account while she was in intensive care and after inspecting her cheque books he found that a number of cheque stubs had been torn out.
He went to the bank with his sister a few days later and they were told that the missing cheques had been made out to ‘K Callec’.
The defendant was arrested, but when she was interviewed she denied that she had forged the cheques, claiming that her aunt was helping her financially while she and her husband struggled to find employment.
She admitted that the ‘financial assistance’ had helped her move her family to a larger home and pay for a holiday with her three children to Disneyland Paris.
The court heard that Callec was a regular visitor to her aunt’s house and she claimed to regularly help her relative around the home and check on her welfare.
Forensic investigation officers determined that her aunt did not write or sign the cheques. Callec pleaded guilty to fraud last month.
Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit, prosecuting, said that the defendant had been uncooperative, including by not providing a handwriting sample when asked during the investigation and had constantly denied her guilt, delaying the judicial process.
‘She continually challenged evidence, making it necessary for investigators to conduct an extensive forensic exercise,’ he said. He called for her to be jailed for two years and nine months.
Advocate Adam Harrison, defending, requested that the court show ‘mercy’ due to the fact that Callec has three children to look after.
But the Bailiff, Sir William Bailhache, said that Callec should have considered her children while she was committing the crime, which he described as a ‘serious breach’ of her aunt’s trust.
‘It is not right to put the obligation on the court to worry about the children. That is what you should have thought about when you committed these offences,’ he said.
‘A custodial sentence will teach them that dishonesty does not pay and they need to know that.’
He added that the lengthy time taken by the prosecution to advance the case was her fault due to her lack of co-operation with investigators.
Speaking after the sentence had been issued, Inspector Craig Jackson of the States police said that Callec’s crime was ‘nothing short of despicable’.
‘She exploited a vulnerable old lady for her own financial gain. This woman trusted her implicitly only to be treated in this way,’ he said.
The court agreed with the Crown’s recommendation to jail Callec for two years and nine months. Jurats Collette Crill and Charles Blampied were sitting on the case.