Care home boss and lover in dock over alleged swindling of elderly residents

Three years since he resigned following the scandal of a police investigation, former Tavira care home boss Manuel José Romana Martins is finally in court with fellow defendant Maria Silva. The duo face charges of theft, abuse of power and fraud.

According to national tabloid Correio da Manhã, the couple “removed more than €65 ooo from the accounts of three elderly residents of the Lar e Centro de Dia da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Tavira”.

In at least one case, money was taken out of an account after the title holder had died.

According to prosecutors, certain withdrawals were indeed for expenses incurred at the home, but a part went towards “expenses by the suspects for their own benefits”.

This is a case that only came to light in 2013, and refers to years going back to 2007.

When details first broke, Martins told reporters that he was “perfectly relaxed” about the investigation, and denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

The court hearing opened in Faro last month.

CM explains that it centres on “suspect enrolment at the care home of Alzheimer sufferer Luísa Ricardo” and two other elderly people: Albertino Ferreira and Rita Daniel.

“The first two had their bank accounts controlled by Maria Silva”, says the paper.

“Manuel Martins approved the purchase of air conditioning units for the home with Rita Daniel’s money, saying it was a donation by the elderly woman”.

Both Martins and his alleged lover Silva deny the accusations against them, saying all three elderly care home residents authorised the couple’s use of their accounts.

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