Fraudster, 39, stole more than £325,000 to fund gambling habit

Courier fraud scam exposed on Crimewatch UK

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Clare Roughley “systematically, ruthlessly and remorselessly” stole hundreds of thousands of pounds from both her own relatives and those she had close contact with in her capacity as a carer, Liverpool Crown Court heard. Ms Roughley, 39, of St Helen’s, Merseyside, took over £58,000 from her grandmother, Theresa Leyland, who suffered from dementia before she passed away in 2019. Ms Leyland had left Ms Roughley £6,000 in her will, but Liverpool Crown Court heard that Ms Roughley made off with money from Ms Leyland’s estate even after her death.

Ms Roughley then delivered a eulogy at her funeral to a mourning crowd who were unaware of her actions.

Her other victims included a vulnerable woman she had been tasked with caring for, her deceit spanning a six-year period.

The court heard the money went towards funding the mother-of-two’s “all-consuming gambling addiction.”

She was arrested in March 2020, having taken a total of £91,437.83 from her father, Raymond Roughley’s, bank account, the court was told.

At that point in 2020, her parents discovered that their bank accounts had been drained.

Prosecuting, Peter Hussey told Liverpool Crown Court that she accessed her father’s account without his knowledge in 2014.

Mr Hussey described how Mr Roughley “discovered, to his horror, the balance on his account had been reduced to zero.”

He detailed how she took advantage of his vulnerability and his lack of scrutiny over his bank accounts.

Mr Roughley, 62, had counted on his life savings and pension to support him.

In a statement, however, he recounted how his “whole world was turned upside down” when he discovered that his trusted daughter had snatched his savings from him.

Mr Roughley continued: “I couldn’t believe what my own flesh and blood had done to me… I never in a million years would have imagined Clare to be capable of this.”

Mr Hussey told the court that she had also taken £158,735 from her mother, Delwyn Roughley, using her parents’ “financial naivety” against them.

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Ms Roughley had set up online access to her family’s various bank accounts, allowing her to withdraw sums at a whim.

Mr Hussey said: “The defendant had manipulated her parents’ bank accounts, enabling herself to use them as she pleased.”

She linked loans and credit cards which she set up to her family’s bank accounts, leading to them being harassed for debts they hadn’t racked up.

Whenever issues arose which could alert her family to her misdeeds, Ms Roughley advised her parents how to respond in a betrayal of their trust.

She also conned thousands of pounds from Jean Almond, 70, for whom Ms Roughley was tasked with caring.

She took over £17,000 from Mrs Almond and her husband between December 2019 and February 2020.

Ms Roughley additionally took out a credit card in Mrs Almond’s name, through which she accessed nearly £8,700, admitting fraud in court.

Defending Ms Roughley, Jeremy Lasker acknowledged there was “no excuse” for her actions, but contended that her theft was “not to live a life of luxury but to fund a gambling addiction.”

Sentencing, Judge Imran Shafi told the court that Ms Roughley had “attacked” her grandmother’s “dignity even in death.”

He determined that her actions had “wreaked utter carnage” on the lives of her victims.

She was handed a sentence of six years in jail.

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