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Fraudster must repay just pounds 3k; Woman stole almost pounds 22k from elderly victim.

Byline: Sam Malone

A CHURCHGOING grandmother who stole nearly pounds 22,000 from an elderly former teacher has been ordered to repay just pounds 3,000.

Diana Thomas, 63, was jailed for two years last December for her dishonest plundering of elderly Mair Eluned Harris' accounts.

She appeared at Cardiff Crown Court yesterday for a proceeds of crime hearing which heard that only a fraction of the money had been traced by investigators.

The court heard that Thomas illegally took power of attorney over her 79-year-old victim's affairs by claiming she was mentally incapable and stole a total of pounds 21,967.

But Judge David Wynn Morgan was told police had only managed to recover pounds 3,020 from the Bridgend grandmother, which has During the original trial, the court heard that greedy Thomas, of Erw Hir, Longacre, Bridgend, "bled [Mair Harris] dry with a wicked, cunning and calculated course of fraud". The court was told that Thomas was a good friend of widowed Mrs Harris and would have stood to inherit everything, including the Bridgend bungalow in which the pensioner lived before moving to a care home, when she died.

Yet she was impatient and claimed Mrs Harris was mentally incapable, thus earning power of attorney to empty her investment accounts.

The sentencing Judge, Patrick Curran QC, told her at the time: "It is difficult to think of a breach of a higher degree of trust."

Thomas, who was arrested in November 2009 following a failed attempt to cash in a Scottish Widows investment for pounds 12,500, was convicted of eight counts of fraud and one of theft.

been seized by the authorities.

Judge Morgan told Thomas: "As a result of your depravation, your victim lost a sum of pounds 21,967.82, and in a fair and just society you would have to pay back the full sum, but unfortunately you cannot."

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* Grandmother Diana Thomas was jailed last December
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 7, 2011
Words:324
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