A carer fleeced a 95-year-old bed-ridden man she was supposed to be looking after of almost £7,000.
Leanne Clark preyed on the vulnerable victim while working as a home care assistant for a company called Caremark.
Clark, 30, carried out the offence while she made home visits to the victim’s home in Thorner, near Leeds.
The offences came to light when another carer read out the details of a letter addressed to the victim from his bank.
The court heard the victim immediately realised there was a problem as he had not written a cheque for many years.
An investigation was launched and Clark immediately admitted stealing the chequebook when challenged. She said: “Yes I did it. I spent it on stupid stuff and paid off debts.”
Clark obtained £6,800 through forging signatures on four cheques. An attempt to cash a fifth cheque for £1,300 failed as there was not enough funds left in the victim‘s account. Clark, of Ramshead Drive, Seacroft, pleaded guilty to theft and attempted theft.
The court heard the mother-of-two has a previous conviction for benefit fraud.
Jane Cooper, mitigating, said Clark committed the offences at a time during 2013 when she had a number of problems in her life.
The lawyer said Clark’s children would suffer if she was sent to immediately to custody.
Clark is currently repaying the stolen money to the bank, at £30 per week.
Clark was given a 15-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. She was also ordered to do 160 hours unpaid work, take part in an activity requirement and pay £3,000 compensation.
Judge Rodney Jameson, QC, said: “You have now demonstrated dishonesty twice. If you do it a third time your children’s position will not save you.”