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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Care home manager 'tried to take £22,000 from elderly resident'

Written by The Press Association

A care home deputy manager tried to take more than £22,000 belonging to an elderly resident, a tribunal heard.

Ratnamanee Bundhoo obtained three signed cheques in the summer of 2012 made out to her personally by the man, who had failing eyesight and has since died, while working at Queens Court Nursing Home in Buckhurst Hill, near Chigwell in Essex, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard.

She paid in the cheques but they were stopped by the man's bank and police alerted, the hearing in Stratford, east London, was told.

Derek Zeitlin, presenting the case to the NMC, said when police were brought in she told them the money was to to pay the £2,824 monthly care fees of the man, known as Resident A at the hearing.

However, Mr Zeitlin said the home, owned by a firm called Ranc, took payments made direct to the business, not via individual staff.

The man had moved to the home in July 2012 and several payments had already been received, he added.

He said: "The registrant claimed that she had had a discussion with Resident A to the effect that the money was going to be put towards his care fees, and there was a suggestion that a small amount of money was going to be paid in cash advance for him, and that she was doing this as an advocate.

"In fact the home knew nothing about this and indeed it was their policy that such fees be paid by standing order or by cheque directly to the home."

Mr Zeitlin told the panel that Resident A had eyesight problems that had, according to a friend, left him "unable to read", but was "compos mentis and was able to understand his own finances" at the time.

The first cheque, made out for £18,356.76 in July 2012, was initially paid to Bundhoo by HSBC but it reversed it the same day it was paid in the following month.

When further cheques for £3,557.71 and £650 were paid in the following September the bank called in detectives.

Altogether the cheques totalled £22,564.47.

Mr Zeitlin added: "She claimed (in police interview) that she was not acting dishonestly and that she was acting as his advocate.

She claimed that the money was either going to him or the care home, despite the fact that she had not informed the home of what was going on."

He added: "The care home was going to conduct an investigation into this matter, and the day before she (Bundhoo) was due to appear at that investigation she resigned.

"So the issue for you is whether this transaction, relating to these three cheques, was essentially dishonest."

The tribunal heard that Bundhoo, who worked at Queens Court between March and October 2012, admitted three NMC charges of taking the cheques and getting them signed, against company policy, but denied three further dishonesty charges.

The tribunal, which is scheduled to last two weeks, continues.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2015, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.