Barking carer drained bank accounts of vulnerable people to buy himself luxury items

Junior Fagbola was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court. Picture: Google Maps

Junior Fagbola was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A carer from Barking “drained” the bank accounts of two vulnerable people with learning difficulties of nearly £4,000 to buy himself luxury items, a court has heard.

Junior Fagbola, of Bastable Avenue, admitted fraud by abusing his position as an employee in a supported housing area in Peckham, south London, between November 2018 and January 2019.

He was handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 24 months, at Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday, June 2.

While the 21-year-old appeared at court in person, the judge and lawyers took part in the hearing by a video call due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Prosecutor Nick Mesure told the court that in his role as a carer Fagbola supported the everyday needs of vulnerable adults, including shopping and cooking meals.

“Significantly, his job also involved withdrawing money for the residents’ personal needs and he would keep a daily allowance for them,” Mr Mesure said.

The court was told that concerns over the accounts of a man and a woman in their 20s came to light after Fagbola had been dismissed from his role in January last year.

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Attempts to withdraw money from the woman’s account were unsuccessful, with staff told there was nothing left in it.

An investigation by a manager discovered payments for items he knew could not have been made by the woman due to her disabilities, Mr Mesure said.

The court heard these included holiday and hotel bookings and purchases on the PlayStation gaming network.

The police and social services were informed, and documentation provided by the bank showed the name on one booking purchase made through the account matched that of Fagbola, the court was told.

The mother of the other victim tried using his card but had it declined while making a purchase in Argos and when trying to withdraw money.

After checking the account’s transactions she realised they were not the kind her son would have made and she contacted the bank.

Statements revealed a delivery address used for a purchase was that of Fagbola.

He was later arrested and gave no comment during police interview, Mr Mesure said.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position at a court hearing on February 17.

Mr Mesure said overall Fagbola had taken £2,000 from the account of his male victim, and £1,945.04 from the woman.

“Both accounts were drained of money, there was nothing left in the accounts,” Mr Mesure said.

Representing Fagbola, Asma Khan said he was “naive”, had shown a “great level of immaturity” and recognised what he did was “wrong”.

“He tells me that he has let down his family,” she said, adding that his spending “went out of control”.

She said Fagbola “apologises to the victims in relation to offences that he has committed”.

Sentencing, Judge Ian Darling acknowledged Fagbola’s young age, his previous good character, guilty plea and offer to pay compensation, but highlighted that his offences were “very serious”.

“You worked in a field with people who were severely disadvantaged and in need of great care, people who had no choice but to put their trust entirely in their carers’ hands,” the judge said.

He said Fagbola’s victims “could not have been more vulnerable”, adding that the purchases made on their cards were “clearly items of luxury”.

The judge said: “One can only speculate as to how much more would have gone had there been funds available.”

Sentencing him, the judge warned Fagbola that his offences would “haunt you for the rest of your days”.

On top of his suspended prison sentence, Fagbola was ordered to pay a total of £3,945.04 in compensation to Santander Bank, which has already reimbursed the victims.

He must also complete 200 hours of unpaid work.