JAILED: Former Queen Mary's Hospital nurse stole over £13,000 from elderly patients
PUBLISHED: 15:16 03 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:26 03 March 2017
She spent the money on clothes and gambling
An Erith nurse who robbed elderly patients of their money, spending it on clothes and online gambling, has been jailed.
Sharon Vitalis took more than £13,000 from eight elderly patients in her care.
The fraud was also working at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, Sidcup Nursing Home and Time Court Nursing Home in Charlton.
Concerns were first raised over the 44-year-old when relatives of a temporary resident at the Charlton care home got in touch with Greenwich council.
The relatives told the council’s anti-fraud team that more than £600 had been taken from their elderly mother’s bank account.
Investigators from the council discovered £630.95 worth of transactions which had not been made by the victim.
Seven debit card payments worth a total of £490 were made to an online betting company - with any winnings from the bets going straight into a bank account held by Vitalis.
The rest of the money was spent on clothes purchased online - but enquiries discovered none of the items were ever collected.
Bank statements of the Kale Road, Erith resident raised concerns over several cheque payments made into her account.
It was discovered that the fraud had been ripping pages out of elderly resident’s cheque books, pocketing up to £2,500.
Most of Vitalis’ elderly residents have since passed away.
Vitalis was eventually charged with 14 counts of fraud totalling £13,052.88. and was sentenced to 28 months in prison on March 1.
“This is a despicable crime and one wouldn’t expect anyone, let alone a qualified nurse and carer to steal from the elderly in this way,” said Greenwich councillor Maureen O’Mara.
“Her actions are unbelievable and I can only hope that the victims and their family seek some assurance that Ms Vitalis is now behind bars.
“Praise has to go to the concerned family that reported this matter to us and to our Internal Audit and Anti-Fraud team who went way and beyond to bring Ms Vitalis to justice when others seemed content to let the thefts go unchallenged.”