Melbourne, Nov 8 (SocialNews.XYZ) A 23-year-old Indian care worker for the elderly in Australia has been convicted and banned from her profession for 10 years after using her aged clients’ debit cards to purchase luxury items worth thousands of dollars, a media report said.
Ashpreet Kaur pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and 11 counts of obtaining property by deception at the Geelong Magistrate's Court on Monday, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.
The court heard that Kaur was employed as a personal care worker at a Geelong retirement village till February 2023 and was in Australia on a student visa.
During this time, she used the bank card of an 86-year-old Alzheimer's patient to make purchases worth A$1,700 from upmarket department store chains to buy cosmetics, and a watch worth A$725, among other items.
Kaur was caught by the elderly patient's daughter who noticed suspicious transactions on her mother’s bank statement.
In addition, Kaur stole the bank card of a 95-year-old resident and made more than A$5,000 worth of purchases on items including perfumes, beauty products, clothing, takeaway food and also added money into her Myki card to use on public transport.
Police raided Kaur's home on March 13 where few of the items she purchased were found, the news report said.
Officers investigating the case told the court that during her initial interview, Kaur vehemently denied any wrongdoing on her part but later confessed after evidence was presented to her.
Magistrate John Bentley said Kaur’s actions were “as low as it gets”, and asked her to repay more than A$7,000 stolen from her clients.
"It’s a breach of trust from the most vulnerable members of society... One of the ladies had dementia ... It’s a gross breach of trust," Magistrate Bentley was quoted as saying in The Telegraph.
Gurpal Singh, Kaur’s lawyer, told the court that she was in Australia on a student visa, and had no previous convictions.
According to the news report, Singh also presented a psychologist’s report in an attempt to sway the judge to refrain from recording a conviction against his client.
Bentley said it was “much too serious” and said the only reason Kaur was avoiding jail was because she could repay the money, otherwise, she would be “locked up”.
“She was buying items of luxury for herself. She knew exactly what she was doing,” Bentley said.
Kaur has been given a month's time to repay the stolen money and has been ordered to complete 250 hours of community work as part of a 12-month Community Corrections Order (CCO).
In August this year, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission banned Kaur from being involved in the provision of any type of aged care for 10 years.