Charities to receive money left in widow’s will following attorney’s abuse of trust

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Three charities that lost out when an attorney abused his position of trust are to receive the money, according to a recent news article.

Zlatko Bogdanovic escaped prison after his solicitor handed Warwick Crown Court a cheque to cover the £25,000 he had stolen from the estate of widow Audrey Archbold.

Bogdanovic, 62, of Leamington plead guilty to fraud by abuse of a position of trust and another charge of making false claims to obtain benefits. After he’d entered his plea, the judge deferred sentencing to allow him enough time to repay the £25,975.

Money left

In her will, Mrs Archbold had donated the money to Cancer Research, the Cats Protection League and the RSPCA. She died in 2015.

Bogdanovic had been given a ten-month prison sentence, which was suspended for 12 months when his solicitor said he had the cheque for the full amount.

The court heard that Bogdanovic and Mrs Archbold had become friends in 1997 when she was 71. The following year she made a declaration of trust dealing with her Leamington home in Brunswick Street, which would be held in trust for Bogdanovic. Mrs Archbold retained the right to live there for the rest of her life.

 

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Named as executor of her will

She named Bogdanovic as the executor of her will in 2002. He was appointed as her attorney the same year and had been instructed to deal with her estate “in such a way as he saw fit, consistent with her best interests”. This meant he was entitled to out of pocket expenses but not to profit by it.

Bogdanovic moved in with Mrs Archbold in 2006 to act as her carer. In 2010, her health deteriorated and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and moved into a residential home.

The court heard that between then and her eventual death in 2015, Bogdanovic treated her assets as his own—withdrawing her pension and benefits as soon as they were paid into her account. He took out at least £300 a month—the money adding up to £25,795 over 30 months.

False claim for housing benefit

He was on benefits at the time—falsely claiming housing benefits saying that he lived in the home as a tenant and receiving overpayments which totalled more than £33,246.

Bogdanovic’s cheque will be divided equally between the three charities. However, prosecutor Jamie Scott said it could not be done straight away as there will need to be a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime concerning the money Bogdanovic received from the fraudulent benefits claim.

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano said the court would hold the money until the hearing had been carried out. She added that she accepted Bogdanovic had had “a genuine and caring relationship” with Mrs Archbold.

 

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