A CON-WOMAN has admitted swindling her own elderly mother-in-law out of £14,000.
At the same time Christine Allison Jewitt, a hotel receptionist, was stealing from her employers and continued to do to even after she had been interviewed by the police for defrauding her 82-year-old mother-in-law.
She claimed she was very sorry for what she had done, but a judge said the apology had “a hollow ring” to it.
Mold Crown Court heard that her offending began soon after she was released from a 12-month prison sentence for a £32,000 fraud against a former employer in Grimsby.
Jewitt, 48, moved to Saughall, on the Chester-Flintshire border, to make a fresh start with her husband Peter and her mother-in-law moved in with them.
She was trusted with her mother-in-law’s bank card to get money out for her – but while on holiday victim Joan Jewitt was unable to get any money out of a cash machine.
Investigations showed that her account which should have been £6,000 in credit was in fact £2,500 in the red.
Police went through the statements and identified £16,000 worth of unaccounted for withdrawals, but the defendant pleaded guilty on the basis of defrauding her mother-in-law out of £14,000 by withdrawing money from her account, using two of her credit cards, and opening another credit card account in her mother-in-law’s name and spending money on that.
A representative of the Forest Hills Hotel in Frodsham, Cheshire, where Jewitt worked, read a Press report of a court appearance and decided to check on the hotel’s accounts.
He discovered that while the she was on duty, £10,000 worth of refunds had been paid to four cards.
It emerged that all four cards were linked to the defendant, prosecuting barrister Andrew McInnes said.
Jewitt, now of Torr Drive, Eastham, Wirral, admitted fraud relating to her mother-in-law and theft from her employer – and was jailed for a total of 20 months yesterday.
Jewitt said that she did not understand why she had done it and put it down to some sort of compulsion.
Judge Rhys Rowlands said that in July 2010 she was jailed for fraud against an employer and shortly after her release the new offences occurred.
The offences against her own elderly mother in law were “in breach of a high degree of trust”, he said.
“The victim was elderly with mobility problems and she trusted you to carry out her banking for you.
“You repaid that trust by using her money for your own means.”
Despite being arrested and interviewed by police, she had continued to repeatedly steal from her employers at the hotel. That, he said, gave her claims of being remorseful “a hollow ring”.
Maria Massellis, defending, said that Jewitt had clearly been depressed and under pressure.
She said the offences ‘became a compulsion – almost an addiction’.
She had since sought counselling through her GP.
Miss Massellis said that the defendant had now lost everything – her husband, her family, her home and her job and she remained in substantial debt.
The only explanation for where the money had gone was that she had used it to buy ‘nice things for the family’.