Financial abuse leads to criminal conviction for attorney
In a case that many campaigners against financial abuse will welcome, a son who stole his mother’s money has been sent to prison for over 2 years by a judge at York Crown Court. Michael Stary was appointed by his mother as a joint attorney, along with his sister, in 2011.
In 2013, she noticed that large sums of cash were missing from her mother’s bank account. She discovered that her brother had taken between £40-45,000 cash for his own use from the account over a period of time.
Mr Stary was found guilty of fraud by abuse of position and sentenced on Monday 30th April 2018.
My experience in these cases is that very often, the perpetrator will say, in effect “I was just taking some of my inheritance early”. But an attorney has a legal (and moral) responsibility to act only in the interests of the person they represent. The money belonged to Mr Stary’s mother and he had no right to take it. A term of imprisonment sends exactly the right message; financial abuse like this is theft and a criminal offence.
What about cases where the police won’t investigate or the CPS refuse to prosecute? Or where there’s a conviction but no funds have been recovered? In these cases, the civil courts can help. A case can be brought in the County Court for recovery of funds that have been taken unlawfully, where there is enough evidence in support (whether or not an attorney has been appointed).
For more information about financial abuse, and what to do about it, please click here.