15 April 2024

Aged care worker stole $76,000 from employer, 'vulnerable' residents, to use on pokies

| Albert McKnight

Lorey Jane Librando (right) used her jacket to hide her face from the media when she left court. Photo: Albert McKnight.

An aged care worker stole about $76,000 from her employer and three “vulnerable” residents, two of whom have sadly since died and one of whom has an intellectual disability, then used it to gamble on the pokies.

Lorey Jane Librando worked at the Royal Freemasons Benevolent Institution in Holt for five years in the lead-up to her crimes, initially as a receptionist before her role was expanded to include paying for invoices.

Between 2018 and 2019, she stole about $48,000 from the facility by processing 43 fraudulent invoices into her and her husband’s bank account after creating a cut-out of the stamp with the general manager’s signature.

Also, she used bank cards belonging to three of the facility’s residents to withdraw a total of about $28,000 cash from their accounts. She did repay almost $9000 to one of the residents.

Librando was stood down from work when her crimes were discovered and she later resigned.

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She was interviewed by police in 2023, telling them her mental health had deteriorated and she would use the money to gamble on poker machines, which eased her distress at the time.

Her husband told police he wondered how she had the money to gamble but didn’t question her.

Librando pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining a financial advantage by deception, two counts of theft and one count of minor theft before she appeared in the ACT Supreme Court for a sentencing hearing on Tuesday (2 April).

Lorey Jane Librando (centre, looking back) will return to court to be sentenced at a later date. Photo: Albert McKnight.

The general manager for the aged care facility wrote a statement for the court, saying she now suffered from sleepless nights, questioning, “How could she have done this to these vulnerable people?”

She said Librando worked in a supervisor position and had been held in high regard but had been taking money from “innocent, trusting older people”.

Prosecutor Claire Daly said Librando had “abused her unique position” and had been trusted with the residents’ bank cards before she used them to withdraw cash for herself while carrying out errands for her victims.

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Her expressions of remorse were closely intertwined with her expressions of “self-pity”, the prosecutor also said.

Barrister John Lo Schiavo said his client had post-traumatic stress disorder and that when people suffered from a mental illness, “they don’t have days on, they don’t have days off”.

“It’s an ongoing battle with the disease,” he said.

Mr Lo Schiavo said his client’s mental illness had made her do something “to escape her mental problems for a short time”.

Justice Belinda Baker has reserved her decision and will sentence the 40-year-old in the future.

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