Community worker in loyalist area is jailed for defrauding pensioner

Court gavel
Court gavel

A community worker who defrauded a vulnerable elderly resident is starting a 10 month stint behind bars today.

Samuel John Hillerby will spend an additional 10 months on licence when he is released from custody after Judge Patricia Smyth said that he deliberately targeted a “vulnerable” man who was partially blind and had dementia.

Hillerby, who is originally from Belfast and whose address was given as Horizon House, Battersea Reach, London, originally denied charges of fraud by false representation and claimed he was helping the pensioner out.

However, the 29-year old later admitted three counts of fraud by false representation.

A prosecutor said that in the summer of 2014, Hillerby was a community worker in the loyalist Sandy Row district of south Belfast while the pensioner, aged in his 70s, was a resident.

In August 2014, the pensioner was diagnosed with dementia, and in September 2014 he was admitted to a care home.

A care manager for the health trust went to his home on December 10 seeking documents, but when he found a bank statement it showed recent activity on the account – which was impossible as he had been in the home at the time.

When the PSNI investigated, it emerged Hillerby had transferred £5,275 from the pensioner’s genuine account into the account he fraudulently set up, then used this money to make transactions and withdraw cash.

The transactions included Benedicts Hotel, Russell’s Cellars and Poundworld.

Transactions on the Nationwide Credit Card, which was obtained fraudulently, amounted to £220.

Hillerby also pretended to be the pensioner and made two unsuccessful applications for loans with an online finance company, in November 2014.

Belfast Crown Court heard Hillerby had a record for similar offences in Wales.