An ex schoolteacher from Newcastle-under-Lyme has been jailed after stealing £48,774.01 from her own mother-in-law.
Victoria Pollard, of Calrofold Drive, was jailed for 20 months after stealing money from the accounts she helped her mother-in-law Elaine Pollard to open.
Pollard, 40, had helped her open two Santander online banking accounts, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard.
Elaine had given her daughter-in-law full access to her finances, and it was not until she fell ill and her daughter had to buy her food that the theft was noticed.
The theft had left Elaine Pollard’s life “shattered”, the court was told, she was no longer in contact with her son and grandchildren.
Prosecutor Joanne Wallbanks told the court: “The total amount taken was £36,189.64.
“She has also repaid £12,584.37 which is not included in that figure.
“The defendant later sent two text messages to the victim saying she would repay the money.”
The victim impact statement read to the court said: “Since this has happened, I have lost contact with my son, grandchildren and other family members, I can only liken the feeling to bereavement.
“I feel completely alone.
“My health is suffering physically and mentally, I have been suffering from sleepless nights and anxiety.
“I thought I would have the financial stability to see me through my retirement but now I might have to look for another job.
“I still feel in shock from the lies of someone who I treated like a daughter.”
Mrs Pollard also says she will have to cancel her Sky TV and go without insurance for her gas an electricity policies, while working through her retirement to make ends meet.
Victoria Pollard pleaded guilty to two counts of theft between January 14, 2011 and August 26, 2014.
Pollard took the money over a three-year period by transferring it online, forging cheques or taking cash out at an ATM machine.
The court heard she used the money she stole to pay off other debts because she struggled to be organised financially.
Defending, Rob Holt said in mitigation: “This has been hanging over the defendant for some time.
“Ever since she was arrested she has always known she would have to face the music.
“This will mean she will lose her good character and will cause her some extreme difficulties.
“She now has an alternative job, delivering parcels, and she wants to be able to repay what she has already started to repay.“
Judge Fletcher said: “This behaviour took place over three years and resulted in the removal of the lion’s share of your mother-in-law’s money.
“This money was savings she was relying on.
“What has happened has ruined your life too, but a message needs to be sent out.”