A mum plundered £136,000 from a dementia-suffering client's bank account and used the money to pay for her wedding, holidays and designer shopping, a court has heard.
Sarah Aikenhead, 37, has been jailed following her crime after she stole the money from a client at the solicitor's firm she had worked for.
Aikenhead "plundered" so much money the company almost went out of business, Minshull Street Crown Court heard last week Manchester Evening News reports.
The mum-of-one, of Beech Road, Sale, also gave £30,000 to her brother, the court was told.
Aikenhead, who has bipolar disorder, began her scam in May 2019, prosecutor Wayne Jackson said.
She first abused her position at the solicitor's firm to empty the bank account of Pamela Sread, an elderly client who lived in a care home.
The company had control over her finances due to the fact Mrs Sread suffered from dementia, the court heard.
When Mrs Sread's money ran out, Aikenhead then used the legal firm's money to top it back up.
Her greed was only discovered when Mrs Sread sadly died and the process of probate began, Mr Jackson said.
"The defendant attempted to make amends and transferred two payments back into the client account of £25,000 and a further £20,000," Mr Jackson said.
Aikenhead also tried to claim her ex-partner would pay back a further £25,000 but when contacted by the solicitor's firm he said this was not the case, the court heard.
The fraud was reported to police and Aikenhead later confessed when interviewed.
Mr Jackson said she initially told police she had "racked up debts" but this is something the prosecution don't accept.
"She used £12,000 towards a wedding venue and spent significant amounts of money on clothing and luxury items," Mr Jackson added.
Aikenhead's former employer has suffered "significant financial difficulties", as a result of the fraud, the court heard.
"It was certainly possible at one stage the business might go under," Mr Jackson said.
Adam Watkins, defending, said Aikenhead accepts her offending was "nobody else's fault" other than her own.
"She says she found [stealing the money] easy and so she continued," he added.
Mr Watkins pleaded with the court to show mercy on Aikenhead as she is the primary carer for her young son.
He said being in prison would hit Aikenhead "harder than 99% of defendants here".
But sentencing her for two counts of fraud, Judge Tina Landale had no sympathy and sent her down for three years and four months.
She said: "You were a highly valued and trusted member of staff.
"You had access to passwords and bank accounts for clients. You plundered the account of a highly vulnerable client of the firm's.
"To your credit when detected you made admissions and £45,000 was repaid, but the consequences have been devastating."