Neil Taylor (58) accused of gambling away Mother-in-Law’s Retirement Savings – photo by Matthew Sullivan
As responsible adults, we spend our entire working-aged lives building upon what we hope will be a comfortably lucrative retirement. If we’ve done our job well enough, we might be able to truly enjoy the fruits of our labor in our latter years. For one Penrith woman who thought she and her late husband had succeeded in that endeavor, the dream has been crushed.
Elaine Solomon is an 86 year old widow. It wasn’t long ago that she had no financial worries. Over the years, her and her husband had built a lofty retirement fund – one that would support her, as well as providing for their two daughters (and their families), for many years to come. Unbeknownst to Mrs. Solomon, her plans for the future were being wiled away at the pokies by none other than her own son-in-law, 58 year old Neil Taylor.
Shockingly, Taylor managed to spend more than $2.4 million satiating his gambling addiction between 2002 and 2013.
$585,000 of that belonged to Mrs. Solomon; her retirement fund. $300,000 was supposed to be divided among her children as inheritance, while another $500,000 was derived from superannuation savings. The other $1 million actually belonged to Mr. Taylor, who had been extremely fortunate to win a 9-figure lottery.
Mr. Taylor’s deception lasted for years before anyone realized just how devastating his addiction to the pokies had become. But by then, the money was all gone.
The trouble began in 2002 when Mr. Solomon, Elaine’s husband, passed away. He had always governed the household finances, leaving her nervous, uncertain and seeking help. Who came to the rescue? Her beloved son-in-law.
Neil worked at a bank, and was eager to offer assistance to his mother-in-law, who gratefully accepted. He convinced her to sell her home, gained access to all of her accounts, and spent the next 4 years syphoning every penny she had into poker machines.
In 2005, with no money left, Mr. Taylor confessed, vowing that he would pay back every penny to his mother-in-law. Unfortunately, that never happened.
That was the story heard by Magistrate Roger Clisdell as Mr. Taylor faced the court system for his unspeakable crimes. After hearing how Mr. Taylor iniquitously “preyed on” the 86 year old widow and mother of his wife, Magistrate Clisdell asked the man why he didn’t use the $1 million he’d won on the lottery to pay her back.
“Because that was my money,” replied Mr. Taylor. “I won it.”
Disgusted by the defendant’ actions and lack of competent remorse, the Magistrate sentenced Mr. Taylor to two years in prison, saying, “The breach of trust in regards to this case makes it a worst-case scenario.”
Talking to the Penrith Press, a destitute Mrs. Solomon said, “I never thought that a family would do such a thing to a family… And the trouble was we were close families. I had the two girls, so when I got the two boys [their husbands], I thought I had got two sons.”
During the proceedings, the court heard how Mr. Taylor never once bothered to check on his mother-in-law in all the years he was covertly gambling away her retirement. Mrs. Solomon said she won’t bother checking on him now, either, as he spends the next two years behind bars.
“I wonder what jail he went to, not that I would go to visit him,” she said. “There is no way in hell I would do that.”