Monday, 26 June 2017

Toroa Reading Comprehension

Returned serviceman fleeced of life savings by daughter, leaving barely enough to pay for his funeral

By Kelly Dennett 

Abridged from Sunday Star Times

When World War II veteran Ron Greenhalgh died on Father's Day last year, he had nothing but the second-hand clothes on his back, after his daughter stripped him of his life savings and spent them.

When Greenhalgh, 95, was admitted to a resthome with dementia, he had a home and significant savings at the end stages. By the time he died, his daughter had allegedly spent about $250,000 of his money at the TAB and to maintain her own lifestyle, leaving him with barely enough to pay for his funeral.


Her only brother, Mike Greenhalgh, is devastated by her theft and has been left asking why the depletion of their father's accounts was the only thing that stopped her.

Carolyn Diane Alleyne will be sentenced in the Manukau District Court, on Tuesday, after pleading guilty to six representative charges of theft by a person in a special relationship. Ron Greenhalgh was living in a care home with dementia when Alleyne began using her power of attorney to access his bank accounts, taking about $250,000, says Mike Greenhalgh.


When Ron's money ran out Alleyne moved him out of his care home and into her Pakuranga abode.

Shortly afterward he was hospitalised with pneumonia and spent eight weeks moving between various hospitals, eventually dying in an aged care facility on Father's Day last year. 

Mike Greenhalgh became suspicious after Alleyne transferred Ron's car into her name and sought advice from various organisations, but nothing was done.

Mike and his wife Jenny previously had a good relationship with Alleyne, frequently visiting her and her husband at their home, and were gobsmacked when they learned Alleyne had effectively spent Mike Greenhalgh's entire inheritance. 

It's one of a number of large-scale thefts of elderly making it through the courts in recent times.

In 2016, Taranaki woman Helen Christine Williams was sentenced to home detention and ordered to repay her father Ray Thomson after stealing $320,000 from him. 

That same year, an Auckland man with name suppression was jailed for two years after siphoning more than $100,000 from his mother, who had dementia. 

Age Concern says pensioners being fleeced of their savings is one of their most common complaints. 

Bank records showed Alleyne had blown the money on her lifestyle, and the TAB, said Mike.

In one email, Alleyne admitted she had spent the lot, prompting Greenhalgh to insist she relinquish power of attorney. 

When Greenhalgh opened his father's accounts all that was left was $16,000 in Bonus Bonds – enough to pay for a funeral. 

One account was overdrawn by hundreds and another had just $16 left.

The Greenhalghs were so disgusted by Alleyne's deceit they opted to have a separate funeral for Ron.


Sitting in his Kaiaua home, Greenhalgh has ringbinders containing pages and pages of bank statements showing his sister's spending. 

After printing them all off he bought a high-lighter pen with the intention of marking every time a suspicious transaction appeared.

He never used the highlighter – there were too many times she'd taken out money.

Greenhalgh chokes up when speaking about his sister's offending and wife Jenny leaves the room in a flood of tears, describing the rest home giving them Ron's belongings.

The only clothes he had were donated from residents who had died.   

"It's not about the money. It's a huge betrayal," Greenhalgh says.

Even the police said they couldn't do anything, despite an email from Alleyne with her admissions.

"You get an email like that, saying I'm spending his money like it's going out of fashion, and you want something done now. Put a freeze on the accounts," Greenhalgh says. 

Police said they needed evidence a crime had been committed before they could act.

Carolyn Alleyne said she had paid the court $120,000 in reparation which she expected would be given to Mike. 

She refused to confirm if her total spending had been  $250,000: "There's no proof".

When asked if she was remorseful, she replied: "Of course, what do you think?" 

She declined to comment on what she spent the money on, or why, and rubbished the idea her father had only second-hand clothes when he died.

"I really don't want to discuss it with anybody else. I've discussed it with the lawyer, and that's as much as I want to discuss."

Age Concern chief executive Stephanie Clare said about 50 per cent of reported elderly abuse was financial and a lot of it involved power of attorneys.

"They think they've got the right to access the accounts, which is not what it's all about," she said.

"There's this societal lack of respect for elderly people and where they live in the world."  

She advised anyone who suspected an elderly person was being financially abused to report it to Age Concern, as they often worked with police to investigate complaints.

32 comments:

  1. Newspapers always use paragraphs for their news articles. Why might news websites present their articles without paragraphs? What difference does it make for the reader when the article isn't organised into paragraphs?

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    1. Websites might be arranging their stories differently to make it easier to skim read. Now websites have broken up paragraphs so that they are arranged into sentences. It may make reading the articles easier to read for some people, but it may also make it harder for others. When you write in paragraphs it gets ideas through to the reader more clearly. This is because paragraphs are usually arranged in ideas, meaning you have a paragraph for each new idea. However changing it into sentences may make it easier to read and understand for other people. They may like having it written in sentences to make it more simple to skim read.

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  2. Identify a word in the article which might be unfamiliar for some readers, e.g. fleeced, siphoning, depletion, suppression, relinquish. Explain what the word means.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. The meaning of relinquish is to claim what is not yours and try to get it or to control . ,eg, he relinquish the weapon.

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    3. The word 'fleeced' has two meanings. In this article, it means stealing something from someone, taking something away, or stripping someone of something. In the article the daughter stripped her father of his money, taking it out of his bank account. The other meaning of fleeced is a woolly covering for a sheep or goat

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    4. the meaning of fleeced is the sheep wool's turn into a fabric and it gets made into a fleece. ,eg, The goat/sheep is fleeced.

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    5. The meaning of 'suppression' is to hide a name or place e.g. the man didn't want his name to be known.

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    6. One word that may be unfamiliar to readers is betrayal. This word means to to be unfaithful towards others. You may tell someone a secret, and ask them not to tell anyone. If they tell that secret they have just betrayed you.

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  3. The article states that "the police said they couldn't do anything." Why might the police have been unable to take action?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Police couldn't have taken action because the crime was already committed. To get the money back, the police would have to visit the TAB, trying to get money back that most likely was gone. If the family had stepped in sooner, then they would've had a chance to recover some of the money. The police couldn't have done anything, the only thing they could to is get her to confess.

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    3. The police can take further action because what the daughter did was not illegal. The children would have had full rights to get into that bank account, so it wasnt illegal. It was just wrong.

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    4. Maybe the police couldn´t do anything because they didn´t know that it was true, otherwise if the police did know that it was true they could of put the daughter in jail for excusing her father and stealing the money.

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    5. Maybe the police couldn´t do anything because they didn´t know if the guy has had it for long? Brie.s

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    6. The reason I think the police couldn't help is because there wasn't enough evidence. Also, as the article says he has dementia so they could of thought that they couldn't get enough info, and that also there might of been not enough evidence that she toke all of that money. Really for me it depends on how bad his dementia is. But overall I think she was mean for doing that to him.

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    7. The police might not of been able to take action because there wasn't enough proof. In the article it says that she had "allegedly" spent about $250,000 of her dads money. Allegedly means, used to convey that something is claimed to be the case or have taken place, although there is no proof. It also says that she spent that money meaning it's gone, your most likely not going to get it back.

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  4. Consider our school values: grace, excellence, courage, and faithfulness. Select one value and explain how we should apply that value in our interactions with the elderly.

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    1. Some of the reasons she stole the money is most likely because it wasn´t illegal which meant the police couldn´t do anything this is because the person was his daughter and when your father or mother dies your aloud to take their stuff such money even if she dosen´t let any other relations have any and can take all the money.Even though this was a greedy decision it is not illegal.

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  5. Identify an older person in your life who is special to you. Describe what makes them special and write about what you can do to fill their bucket.

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    1. An older person that is special to me is my grandma. My grandma is special because she let us stay in her house when the fire was happening. She is so kind. Something i could do to fill her bucket is come to her house with a present.

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    2. My Grandad is special to me and my family because he has had 4 metal shoulder replacements and 3 metal knee replacements. With all of the metal in him and not being able to lift his arm above his shoulder height and not only being able to bend his knee as far as he used to. Grandad still gives everything a go like water skiing, Go-carting and much much more. What I can do to fill his bucket is to encourage him and make him feel special by giving him good compliments about why he is special to me and to my family.

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    3. My grandad is special because he teaches me little things that are really handy in life.

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    4. My grandad is special to me because he has been through a lot and I love him to pieces. If I didn´t have him, I don´t know what I would I would do. He is always there for me through hot and cold, and he worked hard to get to where he is now.

      If I could do anything to fill his bucket, it would be to give him some more money, so that he could get some stuff for himself. He usually spends all his money on things for his work, as he owns his own business. Another thing I could do is give him lots and lots of love.

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    5. My Nanna is special to me because she comes over every Wednesday night and every Saturday night. She brings chocolate for me and my brother, and sometimes she stays for tea.

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    6. An older person who is special to me is my grandma. When I was born my grandma traveled up to London,England to see me. Shes always been there for me. Even though shes 62, grandma loves playing with me and my younger cousins on the bouncy castle and water castles. Grandmas cooking is amazing! She enjoys making custard squares, trifle, pavlova and much more!

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    7. An older person in my family that I admire is my Granddad. He is special to me because he is funny and understanding even though he has a sickness. I love him so much

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    8. My Grandad is special to me because I wouldn´t be alive this is because when my dad was about 16 he wad living on a farm and one day my dad was rounding up some deer and there was a angry stag and the stag came charging at him at hit my dads lung and deflated it my Grandad was the first one to notice he quickly called the helicopter which took him to the hospital but Grandad also shot dad in the eye with a plum once. One of the ways I fill his bucket is to go hunting with him.

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    9. My two older people that are special are my grandma and my nana. First of all, my grandma is really nice and she always cooks nice things for me and my siblings on Thursday. Recently she and my granddad (My granddad is also really nice.) went overseas for six weeks to Slovakia to meet my uncle and aunt. They also went to England on their trip. They just recently came back. Next is my nana, she looks after us if my dad has to go somewhere. Also if we get anything online, it comes to her house. She is also really nice too.

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    10. An older person who is special to me is my grandad because even though hes like 75 years old he still keeps on working doing what he loves which is wood works. He does lots of projects for lots of other people like making the wood parts of old cars which then goes to another guy who finishes it of and makes it work. My sister takes after him because she loves wood works and is really good at it. (Even though she rushes through her work) :D

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  6. An older person that is special to me is my Grandad because when the earthquake happened, he and my Nana took us to live with them and he taught me how to farm. What I could do to fill his bucket would be to buy him a cat because last year his cat died and he has been wanting another one.

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  7. My granddad is special because he is funny and helps my mum and dad out.I could fill his bucket buy doing all his chores.

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