Carer avoids jail for taking up to £24,000 from 69-year-old man

Fungai Matimba
Fungai Matimba
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A FATHER’S ‘pride’ may have made him cheat a disabled man out of thousands of pounds, a court heard.

Carer Fungai Matimba was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court after admitting two charges of fraud by false representation.

Prosecutor Roderick Blain told how in a ‘single course of conduct’ the 42-year-old had taken an estimated £24,500 from a pensioner.

Matimba, of Rosemary Lane, Waterlooville, was working at Choice Support helping care for Peter Kidby, 69, when he used the man’s PIN and bank cards to make cash withdrawals.

Mr Kidby, who suffers from schizophrenia, had given his PIN to Matimba and a number of other care workers at Choice Support.

‘It’s a practise that happened that the care charity said should not have happened but it was clearly relatively widespread at the time,’ Mr Blain said.

Matimba would take out double the amount Mr Kidby needed, and took cash out of another account the pensioner did not use.

Sentencing, judge Sarah Munro QC said: ‘I suspect, although I may be wrong, that your pride in being a man who wanted to provide for his family prevented you from owning up to your wife that you couldn’t manage the family finances on your own.’

But she added Mr Kidby had lost cash from Matimba’s fraudulent actions.

‘He has lost a lot of money and now doesn’t feel able to trust his carers,’ the judge Munro told Matimba.

The judge imposed a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years, with 240 hours of unpaid work, on each fraud to run concurrent.

Judge Munro added there was a ‘small prospect’ that the father-of-three would be able to pay back the cash but urged Mr Kidby to pursue him in the civil court.

Bridget O’Hagan, for Matimba, said when he was arrested the defendant was ‘upset and remorseful’ while speaking with police.

The court heard he made frank admissions to police.

Ms O’Hagan added: ‘In Mr Matimba’s situation he realised from the outset that what he was doing was wrong.

‘It was always his intention to repay the money but the debts spiralled out of control.

‘It was an offence that was always going to come to light.’

He now has an offer of a job as a bus driver.

Matimba, who admitted two counts of fraud by false representation at the first opportunity, has no previous convictions.

The fraud took place between November 1, 2013, and November 30, 2016.