Carer (44) jailed for ‘callous’ €41,000 theft from retired doctor
Victim (90) says she embraced Nermana Gojak ‘like a daughter’ while she worked for her
A woman has been jailed for two years for stealing from a woman who she worked for as a carer and housekeeper over a 10 year period.
A 44-year-old has been jailed for two years for stealing more than €40,000 from a woman who “embraced her like a daughter” while she worked as her carer and housekeeper over a 10 year period.
Nermana Gojak, of Pineview Avenue, Aylesbury, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the theft of €41,380 from Ulster Bank, Dundrum on dates between September 8th, 2012 and August 8th, 2017. She has no previous convictions and is currently unemployed.
The court heard that the victim and her late husband had worked as GPs and the woman had opened a deposit account with the funds generated from the sale of his surgery.
Gojak stole €41,380 over five years by using the woman’s bank card to purchase items and get cash back at points of sale. She regularly transferred funds from the deposit account to the woman’s current account to allow her access to the money.
Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, read the woman’s victim impact report into the record at the original sentence hearing last December, in which she stated: “I cried when I thought of how hard my husband had to work to get that money”.
She described the theft as deceitful, cruel and callous. She said she had not been to able to find a new carer since Gojak’s theft came to light and has had to move into a nursing home.
The woman said she became fearful and worried about living in her home on her own and felt financially vulnerable.
“I embraced her like a daughter,” she said, adding that she went to Gojak’s children’s plays, dancing competitions and “celebrated all their achievements”.
“It was such an upheaval at this stage of my life. It will stay with me to the end of my days,” the woman said in her statement.
When the case returned to court on Tuesday for sentencing, Judge Melanie Greally noted that the “most significant element” for the woman was “the immense sense of betrayal which she has experienced”.
“It is clear from the report that she regarded the accused as one of her family and embraced her as one of her family, introducing her to her wider family and celebrating family events with her,” Judge Greally said.
She said the victim had raised those funds from “a life time of hard work” and the sale of a GP practice and noted that “she was left in financial insecurity as a result of what was taken from her”.
Judge Greally said the case “necessitated a custodial sentence” before she sentenced Gojak to three years in prison but suspended the final 12 months on strict conditions including that she engage with the Probation Service for a year. She said she had taken Gojak’s lack of previous convictions, her pleas of guilty, co-operation, remorse and the fact that she had €2,000 in court to offer as a token of that remorse into account.
Judge Greally also acknowledged that Gojak had experienced difficulties in her past, noting that she came to Ireland from war torn Bosnia and accepted that some mental health issues were identified in a probation report.
Gojak’s defence counsel, Marc Murphy BL, accepted it was an extremely serious offence that had a serious impact on the victim. He acknowledged that the money has not been repaid and that it was unrealistic to think it would be in full.
Counsel suggested that if Gojak was given some time she may be able to gather together “a token amount as a symbol of her remorse”.
Mr Murphy said Gojak played “a central role in her family life” and is a devoted mother to her three children aged between 12 and 17.