Flintshire woman jailed for betraying her brother

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Court Reporter

A woman “betrayed” her younger brother by defrauding him out of thousands of pounds, a judge said.

Deborah Karen Mills, 46, from Flintshire was jailed for two years.

Her brother was shocked to find his account had been closed and a new one opened in his name without his knowledge.

He believed it should contain about £100,000 but there was only 80p in it.

Judge Niclas Parry, sitting at Mold Crown Court, told Mills, of Ffordd Dyfrdwy in Mostyn: “This is a shocking case of betrayal.

“You did indeed breach the trust placed in you by your brother but in fact you betrayed him.”

The judge said the victim looked up to her as his older sister to help him manage his bank account.

He wished to save and was concerned that if he had control over his money he would spend and not save.

“What in fact happened was that while he worked hard and deposited his monies into his account over a 10-year period, you fleeced him.

“You gained, and he lost, at the very least £79,000.

“He is left with nothing.”

Judge Parry said without her victim’s knowledge she closed his account and opened another, using his money to pay her debts and to pay retail outlets.

Bizarrely and without explanation from her, she had paid money to the Federal Bureau of Prisons in America.

The matter came to light when it was found that building society payments had not been made and the brother’s property was placed at risk.

His credit rating had clearly been affected.

Judge Parry said it was sad to read that even then it was only with the greatest reluctance that the victim decided that he had no alternative but to contact the police.

“It is even more sad to read that he never wishes to see you, his sister, again.”

The judge said the likelihood was that the majority of the money would never be recovered.

He said Mills’ greatest mitigation was her late guilty plea. She had initially denied the offences and the matter set down for trial.

He took into account that she was a hard-working woman of good character who understandably was assessed as a low risk of reoffending.

“But you will understand that this is a very serious matter with far-reaching, serious financial consequences for an equally hard-working younger brother and his family,” the judge said.

The judge set a timetable under the Proceeds of Crime Act to see if any money can be recovered in the future.

Prosecutor Karl Scholz said Mills was 10 years older than her brother Kevin Lee.

When he was in his 20s he asked his sister to look after the bank account so that he could save and he received £400 a month to live on.

For nine years and nine months she received all bank cards and statements and assured him that his mortgage was being paid.

During that period she obtained no less than £79,370.

She closed his account and opened up another in his name.

Mills used his account as her own, paid her own mortgage from it, paid supermarkets and made repayments for pay day loans which she took out in his name without his knowledge.

When the victim was alerted that his mortgage payments had not been met, he found his account had been closed, a new one opened and his balance was 80p – not the £100,000 or so that he had expected.

He and his partner spoke to Mills who assured them that the money was safe in an ISA.

Mills wrote out a £139,000 cheque but it was returned unpaid

Arrested and interviewed, she denied any wrongdoing but later admitted theft and fraud.

Anna Price, defending, said Mills was a woman of good character who had worked hard all her life.

She had admitted what she had done, although not at the first opportunity.

Miss Price suggested a suspended sentence would be appropriate in the circumstances.

DC Helen Phillips, of the North Wales Police financial investigation team, said: “This was a particularly mean crime committed against her younger brother who put his trust in her.

“There will be a Proceeds of Crime hearing in April which will attempt to retrieve some of the money and assets accrued by Mills to pay to the victim by way of compensation.”

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