Pensioner took $135,000 from his elderly mum for gambling
A MAN who fraudulently withdrew more than $130,000 from his 94-year-old mother's bank account to feed his gambling addiction will spend 18 months on home detention.
Byron Bay pensioner Brian John Lourey, 67, had made full admissions to police before being brought before the court on 22 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
According to court documents, his fraudulent spending took place between May 2018 and February this year.
Lourey had been appointed power of attorney, along with his two siblings, to help handle his mother's financial affairs.
As the only child living on the Northern Rivers, where his mother resides, Lourey conducted most of the financial assistance, court documents said.
The victim's three children were jointly appointed power of attorney in 2010 and in May, 2017 this was amended to allow for them to have power to handle her affairs if she lost the capacity to do so herself.
This gave her children "no additional powers" to benefit financially and they were to "always act in the principal's best interest", court documents said.
But Brian Lourey, while he was making legitimate transactions under those powers, took things further.
Lourey's siblings were unaware of his illegal activities until his offending was uncovered by his brother, who checked their mother's bank statements in February, before alerting the bank and police.
It began with $400 across the month of May 2018, about the time his mother suffered a series of medical episodes and moved from her home into an aged care facility.
She was then no longer able to manage her financial affairs and had become "more reliant" on her children, court documents said.
The fraudulent spending quickly escalated into the thousands and by February this year, Lourey had withdrawn $135,100.90 of his mother's money for his own use and accumulated $836.98 in ATM fees in that time.
Many of the withdrawals were made at services clubs in Byron Bay and elsewhere in the region, as well as at ATMs in the town and near his home.
According to court documents, Lourey, who had worked as a taxi driver until early 2013 when a medical condition saw him leave the job, had previously sought help for his gambling addiction in the early 2000s and had been "medicated to assist in beating the habit".
When police attended Lourey's home on March 6, he "fully admitted" to having withdrawn funds without legitimate authority.
He told police he had "converted the money to his own use to support his gambling having and fund a lifestyle for himself to which he was not entitled", court documents said.
While there were limited records available, police located some CCTV showing Lourey withdrawing funds before using poker machines in a local club.
In a previous court appearance, after pleading guilty, Magistrate Karen Stafford ordered a report for Lourey to be considered for home detention.
When the case returned to Byron Bay Local Court on Monday, Magistrate Michael Dakin said the report found that form of punishment would be suitable.
Lourey will now be subject to an 18-month term of home detention.