Teenage care worker stole colleague’s card details to order takeaway

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court (stock image). Picture: GREGG BROWN

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court (stock image). Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

A teenage care worker has been ordered to carry out 50 hours of community service for using a colleague’s bank card details to get takeaway food sent to her home.

Claudia Mendes, 19, admitted two counts of fraud by false representation at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, in Ipswich, on Monday.

The scam took place between July and October 2016 – during which time Mendes ordered £133.10 of takeaway food at the expense of a fellow care worker.

Mendes, of Gladstone Road, Ipswich, was found out by the owner of Takeaway Taxi delivery service, Milon Miah, who noticed a number of ‘chargeback’ transactions had been returned to one card holder.

The fraud was eventually traced back to Mendes, who had used another name – Gomes – to order the food and get it sent to the home she shared with her mother.

Mendes denied the offences when first interviewed in February 2017, but came clean when presented with the full evidence that October.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablitt said Mendes told police a lack of money and food had been the reason for her taking photographs of the cards when the colleague had left the room.

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Shelley Drew, defending Mendes, said her client had been working for Vital HealthCare as a support worker, but had been struggling financially.

She added: “When another staff member’s handbag was nearby, she took photographs of the cards and ordered takeaway to feed herself and her mother.

“She accepts it happened on more than one occasion.

“It led to her losing her job, and a friend in the other staff member.

“She is deeply ashamed of what took place.

“She has since studied health and social care.

“She has a new job doing similar work through an agency and keeps herself away from any financial involvement outside her role.”

Chairman of the bench of three magistrates, Michelle Bevan-Margetts told Mendes: “What you did was quite sophisticated and would have been upsetting for the victim.”

Mendes was ordered to carry out 50 hours of unpaid work.

She will also have to cover £85 of court costs, pay a statutory contribution of £85 to victim services and reimburse the owner of Takeaway Taxi.