Dishonest bank boss forced to sell home

A SUFFOLK bank manager who plundered �300,000 from accounts belonging to relatives, friends and elderly customers has been ordered to sell his house to repay some of the missing money.

Despite benefiting from his dishonesty by �300,000, Jason Benham, who is currently serving a four-year jail sentence, has been found by police investigators to have realisable assets of only �120,000, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Benham, 37, who was manager of a Lloyds TSB branch in Mildenhall at the time of his arrest, attended a proceeds of crime hearing yesterday and was made the subject of a �120,000 confiscation order which will be raised by the sale of his house.

At an earlier hearing Benham, of Paynes Lane, Feltwell, admitted five offences of fraud by abuse of position and obtaining a money transfer by deception between June, 2005, and January 31, 2009, while employed by Lloyds TSB.

The father-of-three asked for 34 further offences to be considered.

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Among Benham’s victims were his aunt Megan Reeve, from whose account he siphoned �43,000 and his brother-in-law Gary Rogers, who lost �16,000. In all, 48 customers were affected, including one couple who had to consider bankruptcy.

Another couple, who were close friends of Benham, suffered relationship problems as a result of their loss and another customer, who was unable to read and write lost �38,000.

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A cleaner at Lloyds TSB Lakenheath, where Benham had previously worked, lost �15,000. Another woman had �19,000 taken and initially blamed her great-nephew as some of the money was transferred into his account.

At his sentencing hearing, Judge John Devaux told Benham: “Over a number of years you groomed a number of customers to use you as their sole point of contact with the bank to the extent that they hardly ever came into the branch.”

Jonathan Goodman, for Benham, told the court that his client had been under pressure to achieve bonus targets at work and was in debt, although he didn’t have a lavish lifestyle.

His fraud originally began when he took money from an account to cover loan insurance for another customer which should have been cancelled. Benham continued to cover his tracks and siphon off cash by borrowing more money from other loans and accounts to conceal the frauds.

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