An Indian-origin Victorian aged care worker has been convicted in the Geelong Magistrate’s Court after being found guilty of spending thousands of clients’ money on luxury items with their debit cards.
Geelong Advertiser reports that Ashpreet Kaur, 23 years old, was employed as a personal care worker at a Geelong retirement village until she stopped attending work at the end of February 2023.
Ms Kaur was found to have used the bank card of an 86-year-old resident to make almost $1,700 worth of purchases from David Jones and Myer.
The purchases included buying cosmetics and a watch worth $725 among other items.
The theft was flagged by the woman’s daughter who noticed suspicious transactions on her mother’s bank statement. The mother lives with Alzheimer’s disease.
It was also revealed that Ms Kaur stole the bank card of a 95-year-old resident.
In this incident, she made more than $5,000 worth of purchases. These included perfumes, beauty products, clothing, takeaway food, and money to top-up Myki card.
The woman became aware of the theft when she went to pay for a haircut.
All the purchases were delivered to Ms Kaur’s home address which was raided by police and some items recovered.
Victoria Police officers told the Geelong Magistrate’s Court that Ms Kaur initially denied any wrongdoing.
However after evidence was presented, she made a confession and pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and 11 counts of obtaining property by deception.
Geelong Advertiser notes that Magistrate John Bentley in his judgment observed that Ms Kaur’s actions were “as low as it gets” and “it’s a breach of trust from the most vulnerable members of society”.
Ms Kaur is in Australia on a student visa and has no previous convictions.
It is reported that her lawyer also presented a psychologist’s report to request the Magistrate to refrain from recording a conviction against Ms Kaur.
However, Magistrate Bentley said it was “much too serious” and said the only reason Ms Kaur was avoiding jail was that she could repay the money.
The Magistrate has given Ms Kaur a month to repay the stolen money ($7000) and also ordered her to complete 250 hours of community work as part of a 12-month Community Corrections Order (CCO).
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has also banned Ms Kaur from aged care work for 10 years.
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