May 26 2013 Latest news:
By Jane Hunt
Friday, July 27, 2012
A BANK worker with a gambling addiction who embezzled more than £12,000 from customers’ accounts has walked free from court after a judge gave him a suspended prison sentence.
Sentencing Matthew Farr, 23, who gambled £85,000 away in a 15-month period leading up to his arrest, Judge Rupert Overbury said he had “exploited” his position with Santander bank to systematically steal money from customers’ accounts.
“The harm caused by what you have done has not only caused financial loss but also an incalculable erosion of public confidence in the banking system which is particularly serious in these current economic times,” said the judge.
Farr, of Days Road, Capel St Mary, admitted six offences of theft and asked for 21 similar offences to be considered, involving a total amount of £12,500.
He was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months, placed on supervision for 12 months and ordered to do 240 hours unpaid work in the community.
Judge Overbury said he had decided to pass a suspended prison sentence on Farr after reading a pre-sentence report on him and because of the circumstances of the case.
Joanne Eley, prosecuting, told the court Farr had been employed at the Santander branch in Upper Brook Street, Ipswich, and had stolen money from the accounts of three customers over a five-month period between November last year and April this year.
The offences had come to light after a customer became concerned about transactions that had taken place on her account without her authorisation and an investigation revealed that fraudulent transfers had also been made from the accounts of two other customers by Farr.
Miss Eley said Farr had made the transfers using his own unique user identification but had also used his manager’s log-in to transfer money into his account from customers’ accounts.
Hugh Rowland, for Farr, said his client had a very severe gambling addiction and had gambled away £85,000 between January 2011 and April 2012.
During that time Farr, who had no previous convictions, had on-line betting accounts with 17 different companies and sometimes gambled £2,000 a day.
He said at the time of the offences Farr’s gambling had been out of control despite him having been to Gamblers Anonymous and receiving counselling.
Mr Rowland said Farr’s family had been aware of his problems but he had not told his employers about his gambling addiction.
He said the money stolen by Farr had been repaid and he was remorseful for what he had done.