AN NHS nurse working as a part-time cleaner swindled an elderly widower out of £22,000 so she could gamble in casinos and settle her shopping debts.

Isabel Arantes fleeced retired Newport fireman Peter Wilson by plundering the 82-year-old’s savings account.

Susan Ferrier, prosecuting, told the city’s crown court: “The victim had hired the defendant on the recommendation of a neighbour.

“She worked for him as a cleaner or took him to medical appointments.


“Mr Wilson is a widower and he would spend a month at a time in his flat in Newport before spending two or three months in France.”

The victim was oblivious to Arantes draining him of cash until he was visited by detectives last autumn.

Gwent Police had been contacted by Action Fraud over suspicious activity on one of Mr Wilson’s accounts.

Ms Ferrier said: “When the defendant was arrested, she told officers, ‘I didn’t steal anything.’

“A search of her home and electronic devices uncovered the username and password to the victim’s account.

“She said Mr Wilson had authorised the transactions and that it was ‘like a loan’.

“The defendant had a £1,800 credit card debt and she claimed she asked him to assist her with this.

“She said she had gambling problems and needed to pay for this. She said Mr Wilson did not know the money was for gambling and shopping debts.”

Late last December, Arantes emailed a detective to tell him of her anxiety that she would end up in court.

Ms Ferrier said the defendant wrote: “I am suffering a lot from this situation. I borrowed money because I had been gambling in casinos.

“People ask for miracles at Christmas. I feel like a child asking for miracles.”

In a victim impact statement, Mr Wilson said: “I feel embarrassed and ashamed. I feel so stupid. I feel so gullible because I trusted her.”

Portuguese national Arantes, 59, of Grosmont Way, Newport, pleaded guilty to fraud, the offence being committed between January and October 2019.

She was a woman of previous good character with no convictions recorded against her.

Gareth Williams, mitigating, said: “The defendant came to the UK in 2008 from Portugal and she qualified as a nurse with the NHS and has worked in care homes.

“She is devastated by what she has done. Her husband has left her and she has sold her wedding ring and engagement ring to start paying the compensation to Mr Wilson.”

Mr Williams added: “I would ask the court to consider her previous good character, her public service and the fact she is remorseful.

“She won’t be employed by the NHS anymore.”

Judge Daniel Williams told Arantes: “You helped yourself to over £22,000 of Mr Wilson’s hard-earned savings.”

Her offending crossed the custody threshold but he said he was prepared to draw back from an immediate term of imprisonment.

Arantes was jailed for 18 months, suspended for 18 months.

She must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and complete a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

The defendant is due to face a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing on February 25, 2021.