Benefits cheat fraudster who stole £25,000 from widow’s estate after she gave him power of attorney avoids jail as judge accepts he was ‘caring’
- Zlatko Bogdanovic had lived with Audrey Archbold from 1988 when she was 72
- In 2002 he was made executor of her will but stole £300 a month from her
- She wanted money to go to RSPCA, Cats Protection League, Cancer Research
- He was yesterday given a 10-month suspended sentence for fraud
A benefits cheat fraudster who stole £25,000 from a widow’s will that she wanted to be donated to charity has dodged jail after the judge described him as ‘caring’.
Zlatko Bogdanovic, 62, had been living with Audrey Archbold since 1998 and was made the executor of her will in 2002.
Mrs Archdbold gave her younger friend instructions to split her estate between the RSPCA, Cats Protection League and Cancer Research.
But when she died of Alzheimer’s Disease aged 93 in 2015 he began stealing small amounts from her savings every month, totting up £25,795 over a two and a half year period.
Yesterday he was spared jailed by a judge at Warwick Crown Court after admitting fraud.
Zlatko Bogdanovic (pictured outside court), 62, was spared jailed by a judge at Warwick Crown Court after admitting fraud
He was handed a ten-month suspended sentence after he agreed to repay the full amount.
Judge Sylvia de Bertodano said: ‘I made a deal with you that if you would pay back that amount, then I would suspend the appropriate sentence.
‘It is an unusual case. This was, I accept, a genuine, caring relationship which went on for a number of years.’
The court heard that Bogdanovic, formerly of Leamington Spa, had met Mrs Archbold in 1997 when she was 71 and they became close friends.
The following year a declaration of trust was made to deal with her home which was to be held in trust for the ‘beneficial ownership’ of Bogdanovic, with Mrs Archbold retaining the right to live there for the rest of her life.
With them both living at the address, an arrangement was made that they would contribute equally to the household bills.
In 2002 Mrs Archbold named Bogdanovic as the executor of her will to deal with the remainder of her estate, and later the same month he was appointed as her attorney.
He was handed a ten-month suspended sentence after he agreed to repay the full amount. Pictured: Warwick Crown Court sitting at Warwickshire Justice Centre
After she died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2015, Bogdanovic began to plunder her estate, including her pension.
She had a Post Office account into which her pension and DWP benefits were paid.
At the time he was on benefits, and made a false claim for housing benefit, on the basis that he was living there as a tenant, resulting in him receiving overpayments totalling £33,246.
Sean Logan, defending, said: ‘This relationship was not quite as stark as the fraud would suggest. There was a great deal of devotion and care.’