Saturday 24 March 2018
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Carer, Friend or Thief?

Vulnerable adults in Hampshire have had monies stolen from them by a trusted domiciliary carer. Tracy Reynolds from Portsmouth, was today found guilty of three counts of theft and sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court.
A long term employee of Echoes at Havant, Tracy Reynolds was considered to be a reliable worker and friend to her colleagues and clients, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

Last June one clients family discovered that Tracy had stolen £200.00 from their elderly parents by stealing their mother’s bank card while she was attending to her personal needs, taking money out of their bank account during the day and returning the card at the evening visit presuming it would go undetected.

The 89 yr old husband checked his bank account online and became concerned when he realized there had been a £200 withdrawal on a day when they had not even left the house. He stressed about this all over the weekend and told Tracy on the Monday that he needed to contact the bank to investigate the missing money. Tracy then confessed she had taken it and offered to pay them back by doing extra chores such as cleaning!

When the family raised the alarm, Echoes immediately suspended Tracy Reynolds, informed the police and alerted the safeguarding team because all her regular clients needed to be protected.

The daughter says “This woman’s actions have had a devastating effect on our parents health and wellbeing and no one in their later, most vulnerable years should have to cope with this experience. For a number of years Tracy Reynolds was their main carer and she managed to deceive us all: she came into their home, pretended to care about them and gained their respect so they naturally considered her to be a trustworthy and caring friend.

Tracy confessed to Dad that she had stolen the £200.00 but later pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the police, meaning Mum would be required as a prosecution witness. The saddest and most difficult part of this all has been explaining to my parents that Tracy was NOT their friend and that she IS a thief – they were evidently easy targets because of their frailty and on reflection, we were also vulnerable because we believed the carer was there to protect our parents best interests.

The past eight months have been difficult for everyone and the various agencies have mostly been very supportive. Mum and Dad continue to use Echoes as they now work closely with our family to ensure we all know what is happening and who is attending etc.

One of the lessons I hope other families and care companies will learn from this is to ask more direct questions about the carers, such as:

Is there any way your carer might know your pin number?
Have they ever cleaned for you for cash?
Have they ever taken you out (as a friend)?
Has your carer ever asked you to lend them money?
Have they ever asked you to sponsor them for charity?
If these were asked carefully and answered truthfully, perhaps this deceit might have all been detected sooner rather than later – who knows. Either way we want Tracy Reynolds named and shamed to ensure she will never be able to hold a position of trust again.”
Zoe Duke – 07786 281 249