Care worker who scammed Burnley care home residents is jailed for theft

A care worker trusted to manage the finances of dozens of vulnerable clients living in care homes in Burnley and other areas has been jailed for stealing more than £200,000.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 4:00 pm

Chelsea Whittaker (31) of Manchester Road, Accrington, appeared at Preston Crown Court today (November 15th) to be sentenced for fraud, having previously pleaded guilty to stealing money from around 30 people.

She was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

The crimes occurred while Whittaker was working as a service manager for care company, Lifeways, which runs homes across Lancashire for people with limited mental or physical capacity. One of Whittaker’s duties was to oversee the finances for several residents, and cash cheques for them as and when they needed money.

Chelsea Whittaker has been jailed for 27 months

On several occasions between 2015 and 2018 she withdrew cash from their accounts and took some - or all - of it for herself.

She admitted in court last month that she had stolen at least £200,000, but ‘not as much as £300,000’.

The victims were based at care homes in Accrington, Burnley, Colne, Blackburn, Nelson, Haslingden, Morecambe, Skelmersdale and Leyland. The families of all the victims have since been made aware of the thefts.

The mother of one of the victims told police that as a result of Whittaker’s actions her son had been left without the money in his bank account to pay for basic toiletries, and as a result had been forced to save up simply to buy shaving foam.

Chelsea Whittaker

The sister of another victim said her brother should have had around £14,000 in his bank account but was left with so little money that he was unable to pay for proper rehabilitative care as he recovered from a heart attack. He died in hospital after becoming anxious and refusing further treatment.

The sister of a third victim told the court: “I struggle to believe that a woman we trusted so much with my brother’s care has done this to him. I am so angry and devastated by it all.”

She added: “She clearly didn’t care that he was struggling in the last few years of his life and as he lay there she time and time again stole money from him in his most vulnerable position.

“She has left me with an enormous feeling of anger mixed with guilt that I wasn’t able to stop her doing this to him. As a family our feelings are very raw and we feel devastated.”