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Fraudster who preyed on elderly wheelchair bound woman jailed


An “Evil fraudster” who cheated an elderly woman she was employed to care for out of almost £19,000, has been jailed.

Corina Rose Lyons’ crimes forced the seriously ill, wheelchair-bound woman to sell her house, move to an area where she didn’t know anyone and have to rely on neighbours bringing her sandwiches on a plate to her bedside, prosecutor, Helen Towers, told York Crown Court.

The hearing, the second appearance by Corina Lyons, 54, for fraud, heard that, as part of a “convoluted tissue of lies”, Lyons tricked the victim into handing over her credit card and inheritance money, claiming she needed to borrow the money for essential costs.

Lyons, of Pannal Green, Harrogate, who worked for a Harrogate care group, became one of the elderly woman’s carers from 2004 and her sole carer, trusted by the victim, whose mother had died the previous January, in 2010.

The victim had inherited her mother’s estate that she used to pay off her mortgage and obtained a grant to employ Lyons who told her she “urgently” needed £5,000 for pressing needs and the woman organised a £5,000 to be paid into her account. Within three weeks Lyons spent all the money on online shopping and cash withdrawals.

In about February 2012, Lyons, who had a previous fraud conviction from 2009, for which she was jailed, told the victim she had been offered a job working for Sony to write software codes and that she needed another £3,000 loan to buy software which she promised to repay within six months or “much quicker” if she got the job.

The unsuspecting victim offered Lyons her credit card to buy the software, with the agreement that Lyons would “make minimum payments on the card and would clear the balance”.

By July 2012, Lyons had spent almost £10,000 on the card and Helen Towers said that the victim was shocked to find “cash withdrawals and transactions in shops.” Lyons had also deposited money from the card into her own account.

In October 2012, Lyons told the victim that all her money had been seized by her bank’s fraud department but that she had “successfully sued her bank and that the money would be deposited back into her account.” She then claimed she had transferred the money into another account, which had frozen, and she intended to sue that bank as well.

The woman said Lyons’s deceit had had a “devastating” effect on her life, resulting in her having to sell her house and meaning she couldn’t afford to buy a property near her relatives in London. She ended up having to buy a cheaper property in Scotland where she knew nobody.

Lyons, who had previous convictions for 18 offences including fraud, theft and obtaining property by deception, had been released from prison in 2010 and immediately set about targeting a new victim.

Judge Sean Morris described Lyons as an “evil fraudster” and told her: “You knew she had come into an inheritance and you fabricated the most convoluted tissue of lies again and again and again, and that lady was trying to help you, and you were just spending the money.

“You even forged emails, supposedly from solicitors that don’t exist, creating false stories of amazing jobs and so it ends up that almost £19,000 has been lost from your fraud.

“The victim doesn’t trust anybody anymore, especially carers. Her neighbours are bringing her sandwiches to her by her bedside so she can eat.”

She pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud on the day she was due to stand trial and was jailed for another three years.