A FORMER clerk to Giggleswick Parish Council has been jailed for conning an elderly man out of £50,000.
Lorraine Stennett, 49, was sentenced to three years and six months imprisonment by York Crown Court.
She had denied the offences, but was convicted of five counts of fraud by false representation following a three-day trial.
It was alleged that Stennett, of Ribblebank, Langcliffe, near Settle, had committed the offences while working as a housing officer for Harrogate Borough Council and had targeted a vulnerable 85-year-old tenant, drawing about £50,000 from his bank and Post Office accounts.
A confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act is due to take place in October.
A spokesman for Harrogate Borough Council said: “Lorraine Stennett worked at Harrogate Borough Council for less than a year as a housing officer (she was employed from September 2012 on a temporary contract through a specialist employment agency and had undergone thorough CRB checks).
“She was found guilty of fraud against one of Harrogate Borough Council’s tenants at York Crown Court and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison,” he said.
“Harrogate Borough Council welcomes the court’s ruling. We take crime against our tenants extremely seriously and will do everything in our power to assist the courts in bringing anyone who commits a crime against them to justice.”
Investigating officer Detective Constable Nicky Wareham, from the Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit at Harrogate Police Station, said it had been long investigation and he was happy with the outcome.
“Stennett was employed to offer support and safeguard the interests of her victim, an 85-year-old vulnerable man with no family, but chose to steal around £50,000 from him.
“The offences she committed against him were calculated and her greed even led her to set up online banking on his accounts so she could move money around in order to use for her own gain.
“Following a three-day trial at York Crown Court, I am pleased with the guilty verdict and the custodial sentence imposed will hopefully be a deterrent to those considering taking advantage of vulnerable people in the area.”
Stennett was appointed clerk of Giggleswick Parish Council in January 2012, but resigned towards the end of last year.
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