AN ACCOUNTANT working for a care home business faces two years in jail after admitting stealing £184,000 from deceased residents' bank accounts.
Steven Mason siphoned off the monies from the accounts of residents who had died whose relatives could not be traced, in what the court described as an "intricate fraud", the Express reports.
Defence solicitor Christopher Knox said the accountant's "spectacular" fall from grace was caused by his addiction to cocaine.
He said: "This man was successful, he was in a good position and he was promoted relatively rapidly. He was promoted and found himself in a particularly stressful situation."
Sue Jacobs, prosecuting, said Mason sent emails to Four Seasons area managers telling them to send the balance of dead residents' current accounts to his office in Darlington if their next of kin were not known.
Mason then paid those cheques into two accounts - one legitimately opened and operated by a relative, the other named Fore Seasons Limited which was opened by a friend, the court heard.
Mason eventually resigned in April last year, before his arrest in September.
A Four Seasons Health Care spokeswoman said: "We have reimbursement arrangements in place, as a matter of routine, so that none of our residents or their families would have experienced any lasting financial loss."
Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation proceedings will take place at a later date.
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