Care home worker jailed for using elderly man's bank card to pay BMW bill

Ipswich Crown Court

Former care home worker Clare Scarfe was jailed for 10 months at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich care home worker who used a vulnerable resident's bank card to pay a £350 repair bill for her BMW has been jailed for 10 months. 

Clare Scarfe, 47, appeared for sentence at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday having previously been found guilty of fraud by a jury. 

The jury could not reach a verdict on the second charge, which related to a £45 order from Domino's Pizza, and a not guilty verdict was recorded after prosecutors confirmed they would not seek a retrial on that count. 

During Scarfe’s trial the court heard how she was employed as a team leader at Peppercorn House in Peppercorn Way, Ipswich, when the offence took place. 

The victim, who was aged in his 80s and has since died, had been mentally fit but physical issues made it difficult for him to use a computer and Scarfe helped him with his online banking, the court heard. 

He asked Scarfe for help when he wanted to check his bank balance and she had assisted by keying in his bank card number.

In January 2018, the man had asked her to help him make a transaction on the internet using his bankcard and she had allegedly kept a copy of the card number and used it to pay for a £45 order from Domino’s Pizza.

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The resident had spotted the transaction the following day and his card was cancelled.

A new card was sent to him and Scarfe had used the details to pay a £350 bill for her BMW. Once again the transaction was spotted by the resident and his card was cancelled.

Giving evidence, Scarfe claimed she had mistaken the care home resident’s card numbers, which she’d written on a post-it note, for her own. 

She said she took morphine for pain following a car crash and this had affected her memory leading her to writing down her bank card number on post-it notes.

Benedict Peers, mitigating, said his client had worked in the care sector for 25 years but had been physically and psychologically impacted by the serious car crash in 2008. 

Recorder Darren Reed told Scarfe she took advantage of "the privileged access" she had to the victim's private details. 

He jailed Scarfe for 10 months and ordered her to pay £2,000 in court costs.