A NURSE was jailed for stealing more than £13,000 from elderly patients in her care following an investigation by Greenwich council
Sharon Vitalis, a former NHS nurse, was jailed for 28 months at Woolwich Crown Court on Wednesday March 1 after pleading guilty to stealing from eight elderly patients in her care. Ms Vitalis was charged with 14 counts of fraud totalling £13,052.88
The thefts were undertaken whilst she worked as a nurse in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, Queen Marys Hospital in Sidcup and as a carer at the Time Court Nursing Home in Charlton and the Sidcup Nursing Home, Sidcup.
Greenwich council’s Internal Audit and Anti Fraud team launched an investigation after relatives of a Greenwich resident reported that she may have had £600 taken from her while receiving temporary care at the Time Court Nursing Home.
The investigaters identified three transactions from the victims account including one to an on-line betting company which confirmed to the council that all winnings would go to a bank account owned by Sharon Vitalis. It was found that the 44-year-old from Kale Road, Erith had been working at the nursing home at the time.
The officers then investigated payments into her account and found several cheques ranging from £1,000 to £2,5000 of them had purportedly been made payable to Ms Vitalis from elderly residents that had also been in her care from January 2013 to August 2015. They also say they found various on line betting and shopping accounts had been set up using the details of elderly care home residents.
Councillor Maureen O’Mara, the cabinet member for customer services, said: “This is a despicable crime and one wouldn’t expect anyone, let alone a qualified nurse and carer to steal from the elderly in this way. Her actions are unbelievable and I can only hope that the victims and their family seek some assurance that Ms Vitalis is now behind bars. Praise has to go to the concerned family that reported this matter to us and to our Internal Audit & Anti-Fraud team who went way and beyond to bring Ms Vitalis to justice when others seemed content to let the thefts go unchallenged.”
If you suspect someone of committing fraud against the Royal Borough please call 0800 169 6975 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any information you give will be treated in confidence.