March 3, 2016

Couple ordered to pay back thousands after abusing Power of Attorney

Ann and Peter Godfrey, both aged 67, had previously pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position.

Reading Crown Court heard that Mrs Godfrey had been given Power of Attorney in 2010 and handed responsibility for looking after her elderly mother-in-law’s bank accounts.

However, officials at Slough Borough Council became increasingly concerned with how the finances were being managed and referred the case to Thames Valley Police in 2013.

A subsequent investigation by officers revealed that around £86,000 had been withdrawn without the pensioner’s knowledge or consent and had been used to fund the couple’s lifestyle for more than three years.

Moreover, this meant that there was a lack of funds in the account to pay the fees of the care home where Iris Godfrey had been living. In total, debts of £40,000 were incurred.

Last year, Ann Godfrey admitted fraud amounting to £86,000 and her husband Peter pleaded guilty to fraud totalling a further £25,000. Both received suspended prison sentences.

Now a Judge at Reading Crown Court has granted confiscation orders and two separate compensation orders against the couple, totalling more than £100,000.

Steve Tedder, who investigated their finances, said: “The Godfreys tried their utmost to distance themselves from ownership of any assets but failed to provide sufficient evidence to support their claims.”

For legal advice on Power of Attorney, please contact Tony Millson or Deanna Hurst in Royds’ Private Client team.

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