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Man gets suspended sentence for embezzling €225k from elderly woman

The woman's former trustee claimed he took her money over a three-month period to use in interest-earning investments - but those ventures fell through.

Turun oikeustalon julkisivu.
File photo of District Court of Southwest Finland in Turku. Image: Kalle Mäkelä / Yle

A 70 year-old man who was acting as the trustee of an elderly woman on the south-western island municipality of Pargas (Parainen in Finnish) has been found guilty of aggravated embezzlement for draining her bank account of hundreds of thousands of euros.

The District Court of Southwest Finland in Turku handed him a 22-month suspended sentence on Wednesday.

Immediately after becoming the elderly woman's trustee, the 70-year-old man started withdrawing funds from her account into his own.

The man transferred some 225,857 euros, effectively emptying the woman's accounts over the course of three months, according to testimony.

Money taken for investments, man claimed

The man said he had taken the funds to put into interest-earning investment funds, but those investments were unsuccessful, saying he was then unable to return the money.

The court said the penalty for aggravated embezzlement - and because it was a significant amount of money - would normally be a two-year jail sentence.

But the court handed down a somewhat shorter, 22-month suspended sentence instead, noting that the defendant had no previous convictions for similar financial crimes.

The elderly woman has since died, but the man was also ordered to return the stolen funds to her estate, as well as to pay the estate's court costs. The defendant was also ordered to carry out 80 hours of community service.

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