A MAN given power of attorney to oversee finances on behalf of his dementia-suffering mother regularly dipped into her funds for personal and family payments, a court was told.

Kamran Hamid, granted lasting power of attorney in August 2011, used £22,066 of his mother’s money on personal expenditure over the following three-year period.

Durham Crown Court was told it was concern raised by an elder brother over potential abuse of his mother’s finances with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) that brought the situation under the microscope, in June 2014.

Deborah Smithies, prosecuting, said their mother was living with the elder brother and his daughter in London, but they were meeting her living expenses and receiving no support from Hamid, from his mother’s funds.

The OPG contacted police and the Court of Protection (CoP) appointed a solicitor as a deputy for their mother.

Hamid was questioned by the OPG in August 2014, asking why she was not in receipt of any of her funds to cover her living expenses.

He replied that he had not paid money to his older brother as it was the custom in their community for children to meet living costs at the home where the mother was living. As she was living with his brother, Hamid said it was his responsibility to provide for her.

Miss Smithies said police inquiries began, but members of the defendant’s family did not come forward as prosecution witnesses.

When initially interviewed, in July 2016, the defendant chose to make no comment

But, at a plea hearing earlier this year, the 48-year-old, of Falmouth Close, Dalton-le-Dale, near Seaham, admitted fraud by abuse of position.

Vince Ward, mitigating, told the court that Hamid, who has no previous convictions, retains the support of his family, who have “rallied round” to ensure the outstanding figure, £22,066, was paid to the solicitors for the CoP’s deputy on the day of the hearing.

Mr Ward handed in a large number of character testimonials on his client’s behalf.

Judge Jonathan Carroll said the role requirements of having power of attorney require “judgement and trust”, which the defendant had failed to meet, breaking the “legal trust” placed in him.

But, as the money has been paid in full, he imposed a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, during which he must perform 200 hours’ unpaid work.