Foster mum stole thousands of pounds from vulnerable girl in her care

More on the reality of foster care. Foster carers earn anything from £300 to £600 per week per child, often employed by private companies with no real checks. Foster care is now a multi-million pound industry – making and even stealing money from vulnerable children.

Jason Evans, 27 Feb 2020

The victim’s money was spent on wallpaper, petrol, meals out, utility bills, car finance, and other items.

A foster mum helped herself to thousands of pounds from the bank account of a teenager with learning difficulties she was caring for, a court has heard.

Marcia Louise Carrod spent the cash on home decorations, car finance, utilities, meals, and other purchases.

A judge at Swansea Crown Court told Carrod she was a “thoroughly dishonest woman” whose actions had been “greedy and cynically callous”.

Sophie Hill, prosecuting, said Carrod had acted as a foster carer for the teenager for some two years.

She said the teen had a range of issues including global developmental delay and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Due to her condition Carrod was put in charge of her finances, including the bank account into which benefits were paid.

The prosecutor said as part of the preparation for taking on the financial role, 50-year-old Carrod had received training on what she was, and was not, allowed to do with the money.

But Miss Hill said that despite this training the defendant used thousands of pounds of the teenager’s money “for her own and her family’s purposes”.

The court heard that in total some £12,100 was taken from the teenager’s account but it was not possible to put an exact figure what was fraudulently taken as some money had spent legitimately, and Carrod had not kept proper records of transactions and payments.

However, the authorities found “expenditure of concern” including £90 in a wallpaper and paint shop, £100 on utility bills, £200 on petrol, £403 on car finance, £500 on meals, £600 in supermarkets, and more than £2,000 in cash withdrawls.

Carrod, of Tirycoed Road, Glanaman, Ammanford, had previously pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position when she appeared in the dock for sentencing. She had no previous convictions.

Her husband, Richard, had been charged with the same offence but the prosecution offered no evidence against him when he appeared alongside his wife, and a formal not guilty verdict was entered and he was allowed to leave the dock.

David Singh, for Carrod, said the defendant accepted there had been “an appalling breach of trust” and “a complete mismanagement of the complainant’s money”, and that “the vast majority” of the financial transactions should not have occurred.

He said Carrod had since lost her job at care home and “it is highly unlikely she will ever be able to work in a fostering or caring role again”.

Judge Paul Thomas QC told Carrod she had been trusted to care for her foster placement and to look after her best interests – a responsibility she had abused.

He said: “All in all your conduct was greedy and cynically callous. You stand before the court as a thoroughly dishonest woman who took advantage of that young woman for your own ends.”

Giving the defendant a 25% discount for her guilty plea, the judge sentenced her to eight months prison suspended for 12 months and ordered her to complete 240 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation programme.