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Son calls for Power of Attorney laws to be reviewed

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The son of an elderly woman who was conned out of tens of thousands by her friend has this month called for an overhaul of Power of Attorney laws.

Margaret Rigby, from Kent, had assumed responsibility for Barbara Lewis’ finances after her friend was diagnosed with dementia nine years ago.

Last year, the 80-year-old was convicted of defrauding Mrs Lewis out of £57,000 over a five year period. Court had heard that the savings had been spent between 2007-2011 on credit card bills, cars, meals out and various luxury items.

Rigby was subsequently given a suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of fraud by abuse of position.

Now Mrs Lewis’ son Nick, who lives in Warwickshire, believes that tighter controls need to be introduced to prevent dishonesty.

He argues that an annual review of his mother’s accounts would have exposed the transactions and thinks that there needs to be closer supervision of those who receive Power of Attorney.

The system he wants to see introduced would mean the adoption of similar laws to those which currently govern wills, in which an executor is appointed to oversee that a person’s wishes are adhered to.

He has now raised the issue with his local MP Jeremy Wright, who is also Attorney General.

“He told me that having gone through the case with him there is merit in what I’ve said,” Mr Lewis told the BBC.