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Ipswich mother allegedly spent £27,000 of autistic son’s benefits

PUBLISHED: 09:08 04 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:08 04 February 2016

Ipswich Crown Court.

Ipswich Crown Court.

Archant

An Ipswich mother who had a power of attorney for her 25-year-old son’s financial affairs spent more than £27,000 of his money on herself while he was living in a care home, it has been alleged.

Irene Frogbel, 51, allegedly made cash withdrawals from her son’s bank accounts and spent his money on paying her bills, gambling, food and clothes, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Catherine Bradshaw, prosecuting, said Solomon Frogbel was diagnosed at an early age with being on the autistic spectrum and having a moderate learning disability.

In April 2010 his mother took out a general power of attorney giving her control of her son’s financial affairs, including two of his bank accounts into which his benefits were paid, while he was in residential care.

The alleged fraud came to light in May 2014 when Mr Frogbel was informed his benefits had been overpaid by £4,800 and he needed to repay the money.

His mother was contacted by social workers as she had power of attorney and she said her son didn’t have the money to repay the overpayment.

Miss Bradshaw said the social workers couldn’t understand where Mr Frogbel’s benefit money had gone as he didn’t have material goods such as new clothes or electrical goods.

Frogbel was arrested in February last year and told police she was a carer earning £800-£1,000 a month.

She accepted she was the only person who had access to her son’s bank accounts and that she hadn’t kept records in relation to his financial affairs.

“We say that over a period of three and a half to four years she consistently dwindled his accounts down and spent his benefits on items such as gambling and supermarket bills. Certainly none of it was spent on him,” said Miss Bradshaw.

Fogbel, 51, of Halton Crescent, Ipswich, has denied fraud by abuse of position between November 2010 and June 2014 by taking £27,235 from her son’s funds for her own purposes.

The trial continues today.

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