PICTOU, N.S. -- A Nova Scotia couple has been sentenced to three years' probation, including six months of house arrest, for defrauding the wife's sick and elderly mother of more than $51,000.

Judge Del Atwood said the mother is 83, has dementia and dysphasia, and needs round-the-clock care.

The couple -- Beverly Ann Barker, 58, and David Anthony Barker, 80 -- got her mother to sign financial documents that saw David Barker secure $36,000 and his wife $15,519.

In a decision released Wednesday, Atwood said the victim -- whom he did not name -- did not get one cent of benefit from the deals she was "coaxed and cajoled into signing."

The Barkers have been ordered to pay back the money and not contact the victim without prior approval from her and her attorney, representative, guardian or trustee.

They also must work to have the victim's liabilities arising from their crimes set aside.

Each pleaded guilty two counts of fraud exceeding $5,000.

"Their actions constituted consummate frauds as they dishonestly jeopardized the economic interests of, not only Mrs. Barker's mother, but also those of the other contracting parties," wrote Atwood.

A series of seven transactions ranged from a $36,000 loan from Scotiabank to two smaller bills related to Eastlink and Bell Aliant accounts.

"The parties agree that it is Mr. Barker who is responsible primarily for the fraud in relation to the Scotiabank loan; Mrs. Barker admits responsibility for the rest," said Atwood.

The provincial court judge said threats of violence aren't needed when one seeks to exploit someone who is elderly and infirm or incapacitated.

"Breach of trust which enables elder abuse may be as serious as employing violence against someone capable of putting up a fight," he said.