Elderly couple’s carer spent €150,000 of their money, court hears
5 hrs ago
An elderly and vulnerable couple had more than €150,000 unlawfully taken from their bank account by a woman they hired to be their carer, the High Court heard.
In what was described as “a bizarre case” involving an alleged “breach of trust” Laetitia and Enda O’Regan secured a temporary order preventing the carer Angela Manning from dissipating her assets below €150,000.
The court heard that Mrs Manning confessed to taking the couple’s money, which she claims she converted to cryptocurrency and the couple’s account had been reduced to just €7.33.
She sent the money to an American solider she met on social media, who needed money to help pay for his daughter’s medical care.
The freezing order was sought over fears that Mrs Manning may seek to dissipate assets beyond the reach of the plaintiffs.
Brian Murray Bl, for the O’Regans, told the court that without any explanation significant sums of the couple’s money also appears to have been spent by Mrs Manning’s on her home at Kingston Walk, Ballinteer, Co Dublin, as well as at a toy store, on electrical goods, in supermarkets and at various pharmacies.
A complaint has been made to the gardaí, counsel said.
The couple, from the Laurels, Terenure, Dublin, do not know what she has done with their cash, and are concerned as they require funds for their care.
Today Mr Justice Mark Sanfey granted a temporary injunction freezing Mrs Manning’s assets.
The order, which was granted on an ex-parte (one-side only represented) basis.
The judge said while Ms Manning has a right to be heard on the allegations, he was satisfied from the nature of the serious claims made before the court to grant the freezing order. The case will return to court on a ‘liberty to apply’ basis.
Mr Murray said Mrs Manning had initially been hired through an agency to care for Mr O’Regan, and the couple had a good relationship with her.
The O’Regans decided to hire her directly after Mrs Manning said she was leaving the agency, and she was hired by the couple in early 2020.
The couple are in their late 70s and have significant health problems, counsel said.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, counsel said, they cocooned.
Counsel said that the O’Regans gave Mrs Manning, who was paid between €350 and €300 a week, their debit card to buy items including groceries for them and to take her wages.
They were very reliant on her during the pandemic.
The O’Regans had over €150,000 in their account in early 2020 when Mrs Manning commenced working for them and now have €7.33.
Counsel said that Mrs Manning used the debit card to make large cash withdrawals from the account on a regular basis over an 85-week period.
When confronted about the missing funds, Mrs Manning said she had “met a US soldier on Facebook,” who she said she “might be in love with,” who “had a young daughter with cancer”.
This man needed money so he could access funds from his pension to pay for his child’s medical bills.
She was vague on the amount of money she sent and said that after this soldier was deployed to Afghanistan another individual continued communicating with her, claiming more money was required.
Mrs Manning told Mrs O’Regan she was using the funds to buy cryptocurrency to send to those she was interacting with on Facebook.
Counsel said his client told Mrs Manning she was being scammed.
However, Mrs Manning asked Mrs O’Regan not to tell anyone as the second man had promised her US$350,000, in return for sending the monies.
The court heard Mrs Manning’s husband, Andrew, had offered to repay “every cent” and also made contact with the O’Regans’ solicitor.
Her husband, who was initially unaware of the total amount allegedly taken from the O’Regans, offered to repay €40,000 to the couple.
Mr Manning also told the solicitor that his wife had converted about €57,000 of his money into bitcoin.
He said he may have to re-mortgage their home to repay the full amount allegedly owed.
GHowever, contact between the solicitor and Mr Manning ceased after he said he had been advised that due to an ongoing arda investigation not to speak with the O’Regans’ lawyers.