September 21 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, March 8, 2014
A disgraced branch manager of a Suffolk bank who stole £17,000 from the accounts of three elderly clients to fund his “high living” lifestyle has been jailed for 12 months.
Cocaine user Daniel Brazier began taking out payday loans after running up debts of £10,000 and used the money he stole from customers accounts to pay off the loans, Ipswich Crown court heard.
Brazier, 25, of The Street, Capel St Mary, admitted three offences of fraud by abuse of position by taking money from customer accounts over a three-month period while he was branch manager at Santander in Market Place, Hadleigh.
Jailing him for 12 months, Recorder Jonathan Seely said: “This is a very high degree of breach of trust. You were already branch manager when you committed these offences. The public are entitled to expect standards of high integrity from those looking after their money in a bank.”
He said Brazier told a probation officer he had been introduced to high living which led to him socialising, drinking and using cocaine on a regular basis.
He resorted to taking out pay day loans and had used the money he took from customers’ accounts to pay off the loans and to put money into his account to enable him to sustain his lifestyle.
Mr Seely said Brazier had initially denied the offences and had suggested that someone else could have used his password to log in to his computer. “You briefly pointed the finger of suspicion at other staff,” said the judge.
Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said Brazier had made 26 withdrawals of £500 totalling £13,000 from one couple’s account and six £500 withdrawals from the account of an elderly woman.
He had also withdrawn two sums of £500 and one of £265 from another customer’s account, said Mr Ivory. “The customers were all elderly,” he said,
The court heard the offences were committed between November 2012 and February last year and Brazier had resigned from his job on February 5. The customers who had lost money had all been reimbursed by the bank.
Craig Marchant, for Brazier, said his client had not deliberately targeted elderly customers.
He said Brazier had been paid £20,000 a year as branch manager and had three or four people working for him.
He said Brazier had resigned from his job before any inquiry was started into the missing money because he realised the stupidity of what he had done and the need to change his lifestyle.
“He was spending more than he had. He acknowledges he was living beyond his means and was owing more than he was getting in at the end of each month,” said Mr Marchant.
He said Brazier had owed around £10,000, but was now working as an IT engineer and had managed to reduce his debts to £6,000.