Man steals $800,000 from his 99-year-old grandmother who suffers from dementia

Elderly woman illustration 
By: Chan Yuan 

A man was arrested, charged and convicted of theft after stealing nearly $800,000 from his grandmother, prosecutors in the United Kingdom said.

Guy Houghton, 49, from Folkestone, was sentenced by the Swindon Crown Court to 40 months in prison for defrauding his grandmother Beatrice Houghton of over 500,000 pounds ($770,000).

She suffered from dementia and died at age 99.

“Guy Houghton breached the trust his elderly grandmother Beatrice Houghton placed in him by acting dishonestly in dealing with her financial affairs to his own benefit, resulting in defrauding her of over 500,000 pounds. She lived for a time with him and his wife in his previous home near Malmesbury, where she had been treated well and cared for. She was moved to a nursing home in Gloucestershire,” Sharon Douglass, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wessex, said.

She signed an Enduring Power of Attorney in favor of her grandson to deal with her affairs. She had substantial financial means, including her family home in Weybridge, Surrey. Other than the care home fees, her personal needs at that time were modest.

Her health started to deteriorate and she began to suffer from dementia. She was then transferred to another nursing home in Braydon near Swindon.

When his grandmother no longer had the capacity to administer her financial affairs, Guy Houghton was supposed to register the Enduring Power of Attorney document with the Office of the Public Guardian, but he failed to do so.

It is at that time when her condition worsened that it seemed he took advantage of the situation as he had sole control over her financial affairs. He dealt with his grandmother's finances until her death.

The evidence showed that Guy Houghton withdrew substantial and regular sums of money from his grandmother's accounts to fund his business and personal purchases both here and abroad.

The sale of Beatrice Houghtons Weybridge home was completed and two months later Guy Houghton bought a house in Malmesbury with the proceeds of the sale.