A trusted friend who fleeced more than $66,000 from a 97-year-old had hoped to make one big win on the pokies to get her life back on track.
Rather than getting her life together, the woman is now waiting to see if she will be going to jail over the blatant breach of trust.
Jan Kovacs, 64, had known the victim for about 20 years, having first met her while cleaning her house.
She was so trusted, she had a key to her home.
The victim became unable to care for herself, and eventually moved into the Mercy nursing home on Poole Street in Albury.
Kovacs was appointed joint power of attorney over the woman, along with the victim's niece.
The position gave her full access to the elderly woman's bank accounts to enable her care.
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Albury Local Court has been told that despite their long-running friendship, it had taken Kovacs just 13 days to start helping herself to the woman's cash.
Between October 1, 2019 and March 2 last year, Kovacs accessed the woman's accounts 99 times, taking out $66,370.
She had attended various Hume Bank outlets in the Albury area, often taking out more than $1000.
The cash was immediately spent at the Commercial Club, not only on poker machines but on food and drinks.
COVID-19 restrictions put a hold on the offending from March to June 2020 when pubs closed and the Victoria-NSW border shut, but it soon resumed.
The victim's niece visited her last year and the offending was detected.
She called Kovacs to confront her.
In facts tendered to the court, police said Kovacs broke down when her offending was discovered.
"The accused began to cry over the phone, admitting to (the niece) that she had used the money to gamble on the poker machines as she was having several personal issues," police said.
She texted the niece a few days later and apologised, stating she would repay the money despite having lost it all.
She had tried to enter a payment plan after seeking legal advice.
The incident was reported to police by the 97-year-old's niece and an investigation was launched.
When officers spoke to the nursing home resident, she handed over a birthday card with a letter from Kovacs apologising for her actions.
The officers took the card into evidence.
Kovacs, who lives in Wodonga, was arrested on December 27 last year.
"The accused made full admissions to using her privilege as power of attorney for the victim to unlawfully access the victim's money for her own financial gain," police said.
"The accused admitted to having a gambling addiction and that she felt that if she could have just one big win, she would be able to get her life back on track.
"The accused also admitted that the only reason she stopped accessing the funds was because she got caught."
Kovacs has admitted to a single count of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
Magistrate Sally McLaughlin seemed to suggest a prison term was on the cards, noting her sentencing options were "limited".
Lawyer Angus Lingham agreed it was "a very serious charge".
Ms McLaughlin ordered a sentencing assessment report be conducted for Kovacs, who appeared in court wearing a purple shirt, glasses and earrings.
The matter will return on May 30 for sentence.
The nursing home resident will seek compensation for the lost money.
The incident drained her four bank accounts.
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