Former Health Care Assistant Jailed for 15 Months for Exploiting Cancer Patients' Credit Cards

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Former Health Care Assistant Jailed for 15 Months for Exploiting Cancer Patients’ Credit Cards

Former Health Care Assistant Jailed For 15 Months For Exploiting Cancer Patients' Credit Cards

A former health care assistant has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for using the credit cards of vulnerable cancer patients she was supposed to care for during their hospital stays, leaving victims feeling “violated and vulnerable.”

Former Health Care Assistant Jailed For 15 Months For Exploiting Cancer Patients' Credit Cards

Mira Solmaz, 33, from Hackney, east London, admitted to five counts of fraud and three counts of possession of articles for use in fraud at Southwark Crown Court. Her crimes involved exploiting patients’ credit cards during the Covid lockdown when they were isolated from their families.

Former Health Care Assistant Jailed For 15 Months For Exploiting Cancer Patients' Credit Cards

The court heard that Hazel Longhurst, a cancer patient at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, discovered unauthorised transactions on her cards amounting to approximately £1,500 while she was hospitalized in April 2021. Longhurst’s daughter reported the fraudulent activity to the police.

Former Health Care Assistant Jailed For 15 Months For Exploiting Cancer Patients' Credit Cards

In a victim impact statement, Longhurst, who had worked in the NHS for over 40 years, expressed her shock and dismay at the betrayal, stating that she felt “violated and vulnerable” during her hospitalization. She described the ordeal as “predatory and cruel,” highlighting the impact it had on her recovery and the trust she had in hospital staff.

Former Health Care Assistant Jailed For 15 Months For Exploiting Cancer Patients' Credit Cards

Similarly, Todd Mallonee, another cancer patient at the same hospital, noticed his credit card missing along with £60 in cash and other items. His wife reported the theft to the police in January 2021. Mallonee, who tragically passed away in April 2021 at the age of 48, had £360 of unauthorized transactions linked to Solmaz.

Former Health Care Assistant Jailed For 15 Months For Exploiting Cancer Patients' Credit Cards

Solmaz used the stolen cards to make various purchases, including Apple AirPods, dental treatments, clothes, and payments to bailiffs. She was found to have hidden incriminating images on her phone, concealed within a fake calculator app.

Former Health Care Assistant Jailed For 15 Months For Exploiting Cancer Patients' Credit Cards

In sentencing, Judge Gregory Perrins condemned Solmaz’s actions as a “calculated decision” that breached the trust of vulnerable patients, including those who were terminally ill. He noted the profound distress caused to Mallonee, who had to deal with the offence while battling cancer.

Solmaz’s defense lawyer, Charlotte O’Connor, highlighted her client’s troubled personal life and mental health struggles but acknowledged the severity of her offences. O’Connor stated that Solmaz would be unable to work in the healthcare sector again, a field she once loved and where she was highly regarded.

Following the sentencing, City of London Police Detective Constable Stacie Cottrell extended condolences to Mallonee’s family and emphasized the gravity of Solmaz’s betrayal of trust.

Mira Solmaz’s exploitation of vulnerable cancer patients for personal gain serves as a stark reminder of the need to safeguard the most vulnerable members of society, even within healthcare settings.

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