Grimsby woman stole £20,869 from brother-in-law to pay debts
A WOMAN callously fleeced her own brother-in-law out of nearly £21,000 after plundering his savings and setting up a bogus credit card account in his name.
She ruthlessly raided his bank account 114 times in a desperate bid to plug soaring debts and loan penalty charges, a court heard.
Julie Kendrick, 24, of Welholme Road, Grimsby, admitted two offences of fraud.
One involved transferring £16,708 from Stuart Kendrick's bank account between July 21 last year and April 17 this year and the other involved obtaining a credit card in his name, intending to make a gain of £4,161, between February 24 and April 13 this year.
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Sue Barker, prosecuting, told Grimsby magistrates that Kendrick's brother-in-law discovered that money was missing from his account when he tried to withdraw cash from a machine in Immingham but it was refused.
Mr Kendrick, 38, thought it was a machine error and successfully withdrew a lesser amount but, when he went to another machine to take out more money, he was told that there was not enough money in his account.
He realised something was wrong and discovered that there had been 114 fraudulent transactions.
Kendrick's name was listed in the internet bank transactions.
Kendrick fraudulently obtained a total of £20,869. The bank had repaid her brother-in-law but part of the credit card debt was still owed, said Mrs Barker.
Gary Bulbeck, mitigating, said Kendrick and her husband began suffering serious financial problems when their income "reduced dramatically".
He struggled to find regular work and was often earning nothing or as little as £40 a week.
She had done a two-year degree but could not find work in her chosen child-minding field because she did not have experience and also could not get shop work because she was considered over-qualified.
They suffered regular £50 penalties for missing car and loan payments. It would have cost them more money to sell the car because the debt was more than the vehicle was worth.
Kendrick was in a "cycle of debt" and was still being "harassed" by people who were owed money, said Mr Bulbeck.
She spotted the bank account of her brother-in-law and decided that, if she "took a little bit of money, it would help alleviate some of the problems".
Kendrick claimed she did not intend to carry on taking the money and planned to pay it back but her financial problems kept continuing.
"She was not taking the money to fund a lavish lifestyle," said Mr Bulbeck.
"There were no expensive holidays. It was to pay debts and to satisfy debtors.
"It led to an improvement in her life. She was no longer arguing with her husband. There was less stress on her. That was what led her to continue doing it."
Kendrick claimed that, when her husband did occasionally get wages, she paid back £20 or whatever she could afford to her brother-in-law's account.
She claimed that, when she applied for the credit card, she thought that if she did not need to withdraw cash from his bank account, he "would not suffer" any loss.
"She hoped to be able to pay the money back into his bank account when she could," said Mr Bulbeck.
Kendrick used her brother-in-law's credit rating but hoped to run the credit card account herself and use it to fund loan and car payments.
The fraud was discovered and the balance of the credit card was being paid back. The bank had repaid her brother-in-law.
Presiding magistrate Ernest McCready told Kendrick: "This matter is exceedingly serious.
"Because of your early guilty plea, the support of your family and your good references, you are not going to prison."
Kendrick was given a six-month suspended prison sentence, a three-month supervision order, 120 hours' unpaid work and was ordered to pay £85 costs.
No compensation was ordered because the amount was outside the powers of the magistrates.