When Ethel Haines moved into Jacaranda Village aged care home in the Victorian town of Red Cliffs, near Mildura in 2014, she expressed concerns about her neighbours taking advantage of her. As a result, then chief executive of Jacaranda Village, Sue Lynch and Kaylene Joy Stanborough, administrative assistant at the time, decided to take on joint power of attorney for Mrs Haines. In her will, it was stipulated that her money was to be given to her sister in England.
However, when the 89 year old died, the solicitor in charge of her estate and funeral arrangements found that the older woman only had $9000 to her name. This discovery revealed that Stanborough, tasked with taking care of the older woman’s financial affairs, had been repeatedly taking money from her bank accounts, totalling more than $132,000 over 14 months.
Between December 2015 and February 2017, the former care worker made numerous withdrawals from the older woman’s accounts, including 24 separate withdrawals in person with bank tellers, totalling $104,969. Thousands more dollars were withdrawn by Stanborough even after she left her position at Jacaranda Village in late 2016.
Westpac has since reimbursed much of the money to the estate of Mrs Haines, while Stanborough was unable to pay compensation.
Stanborough has pleaded guilty to obtaining a financial advantage by deception and obtaining property by deception. Some of the funds were funneled through the accounts of Stanborough’s “controlling” former partner David John Maynard, whose whereabouts are as yet unknown.
Stanborough’s relationship with Maynard ended in late 2017, and he has been charged with six counts of dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime.
Prosecutor Andrew Grant has requested jail time for Stanborough, saying that the theft took place over 14 months and demonstrated a betrayal of the trust placed in Stanborough by Mrs Haines.
Defence council Jim McGarvie has however rebutted the request, saying that as there is compelling evidence that Stanborough was a victim of abuse at the hands of a “tyrannical relationship” with Mr Maynard, she should instead be placed on a corrections order instead.
Mr McGarvie submitted evidence to the court that Stanborough had experienced severe trauma from her time as a victim of family violence, and has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and agoraphobia.
He continued, claiming that during the time of the theft, Maynard had spent much of the money, with Stanborough keeping some in her account for living expenses. Since leaving Jacaranda Village almost four years ago, she has been unable to find work.
Kaylene Joy Stanborough is due to be sentenced on November 18th.