Charities Lost £25,000 After Attorney Abuses Position
Three well-known charities have lost more than £25,000 because a carer exploited his role as an attorney to an elderly widow.
Zlatko Bogdanovic, 62 who resided at Brunswick street in Leamington at the time of the offence pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of a position of trust and a charge of making dishonest claims to obtain benefit.
However, Bogdanovic avoided going to jail after a cheque was handed over to Warwick Crown Court covering all the £25,795 he stole from the account of widow Audrey Archbold.
The widow’s will bequeathed gifts to Cats Protection League, the RSPCA and Cancer Research following her death in 2015.
After Bogdanovic’s solicitor revealed he had a cheque for the full amount, Zlatko was given a ten-month sentence suspended for 12 months.
The court listened to how Bogdanovic had become close friends with Mrs Archbold back in 1997 when she was aged 71.
In 1998, Mrs Archbold drew up a Declaration of Trust to deal with her home in Leamington where it would be held in trust for the ‘beneficial ownership’ of Bogdanovic, but it stipulated that the widow had the right to live at the property for the remainder of her life.
In 2002 Mrs Archbold appointed Bogdanovic as executor of her Will to manage the rest of her estate and within the same month, he was made her attorney too.
In his role as attorney, he was to ‘deal with her estate in such a way as he saw fit, consistent with her best interests,’ and was allowed out-of-pocket expenses but must not profit by it.
Bogdanovic moved into the widow’s house in 2006 and was accepted as her carer and was never disputed that he did not look after her.
However, in 2010 Mrs Archbold’s health deteriorated and was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and went to live in a residential home.
From the time the widow was transferred to a care home to her passing in 2015, Bogdanovic used her money as if it was his own and withdrew her pension and benefits once they had been paid into her account.
The crime continued every month when Bogdanovic would steal £300 a month, totalling £25,795 over a 2-year period.
At the time of the deceitful offence, Bogdanovic was also on benefits, recouping more money by making a false claim for housing benefit, claiming he was living at the Leamington property as a tenant. This deception of benefit fraud meant he received over payments amounting to £33,246.
The prosecutor at the hearing confirmed the money that was paid back by Bogdanovic will be divided equally between the three named charities.
However, the charities will not receive the monies straight away due to Bogdanovic standing trial under the Proceeds of Crime Act following benefit fraud.
The monies will be held until such time when the Proceeds of Crime Act hearing is resolved.
When Judge de Bertodano sentenced Bogdanovic, who now lives in Croatia, he said:
“It is an unusual case. This was, I accept, a genuine, caring relationship which went on for a number of years.”
The Government carried out almost 50% more investigations concerning abuse complaints regarding lasting powers of attorney (LPA) in 2018. In total, the Office of the Public Guardian received 5,245 claims that attorneys were abusing their donor’s finances last year – this is more claims of abuse than the OPG has ever had to deal with.
Are you seeing a rise in elderly people being exploited by their attorneys? Do you think more people should make LPAs before reaching later life?