A Derbyshire fraudster duped her own sister out of more than £3,500 so she could pay her rent.
Derby Crown Court recently heard how Maxine Bonser took the cash out of the victim’s bank account over nearly two years.
Eunice Opare-Addo, prosecuting, said the defendant’s relative only discovered the cash was missing when she checked her statement.
The 56-year-old defendant was arrested and denied the charge and claimed during a previous magistrates’ court trial she had been given permission to access her sister’s account and withdraw money.
But the defendant was found guilty of one count of fraud and committed for sentencing at Derby Crown Court on .
Recorder David Mason QC sentenced Bonser to 18-months of custody suspended for two years.
He said: “I have read the pre-sentence report in this case which makes very sad reading in one respect.
“Clearly you are someone that has significant issues. You have had a drug problem and now clearly have an alcohol problem.
“You need help and you need help now and if I lock you up you are not going to get that.
“This is a last chance to sort yourself out. This is a proper warning shot across your bows.”
Miss Opare-Addo said Bonser and her sister had got on well until November 2017 when they had a disagreement.
She said before then the defendant’s sister would allow her to use her bank card when she needed cash.
Miss Opare-Addo said: “In April 2018 the complainant received a bank statement and normally she would not open it.
“However, on this occasion she did open the statement and on it saw a transaction to Derwent Housing.
“Derwent Housing were contacted and they confirmed that transaction was for rent for an address in Hazlehurst Lane, Stonegravels, Chesterfield.
“The victim and her partner live at an address in Eckington and so the police were contacted.”
Miss Opare-Addo said investigations revealed that between July 2016 and April 2018 a total of £3,538.22 had been withdrawn from that account to pay rent on the Hazlehurst Lane address where Bonser lives.
She said: “In her police interview she denied taking the money or acting dishonestly saying her sister told her to use her account whenever she wanted.”
Bonser took the case to trial where she was found guilty of fraud.
The hearing was told how she has two convictions for similar matters in 2009 and 2013 for which she received community orders.
Joe Harvey, defending, said Bonser was a woman “who has her issues”.
He said: “There is nothing I can say which will go behind this being an offence which went on for a considerable period of time.”
As well as the suspended prison sentence, Recorder Mason ordered Bonser to attend a six-month alcohol treatment programme run by the probation service.
He did not order any compensation.
Recorder Mason QC added: “No doubt you were doing this because you were short of money.
“If I order compensation it is only going to aggravate matters.”