Gambler jailed after �100k building society fraud

A BUILDING society worker has been jailed after rifling nearly �100,000 from customers’ accounts – including his own grandmother’s.

Gambling addict Andrew Timms, of Friars Way, Bury St Edmunds, abused his position as a �22,000-a-year customer services manager at Nationwide Building Society over an eight-month period. Ipswich Crown Court heard Timms, who will be 29 tomorrow, “robbed Peter to pay Paul” as he sought to pay off spiralling debts brought on by his addiction.

The court heard that by the time his crime was discovered at the Nationwide’s Market Place, Stowmarket, branch in November 2009 Timms had made 20 unauthorised withdrawals totalling �99,395 from 11 accounts.

He replaced �72,098 by transferring money from one client’s account to another. However, there was a black hole in three accounts, amounting to a �27,297 deficit, which the building society ended up reimbursing. The deficit was then repaid to Nationwide by Timms’ mother on his behalf.

Jailing Timms for 12 months, Judge Lindsay Davies told him: “This is a classic bank-fraud case.

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“You took no steps at all towards solving this (gambling) addiction. You have a close and supportive family and you have let them down – in particular the account you had used and took the most money out of was, in fact, your grandmother’s account. That effectively was a double abuse of trust. You are now extremely remorseful and you deeply regret all your actions. You have lost your career, good name, and your reputation.”

For Timms – who had pleaded guilty to fraud – David Pickersgill said his client was suffering from a gambling condition, which some would describe as a disease. Mr Pickersgill added: “His wrongdoing is with him every minute of every day. The phrase robbing Peter to pay Paul is apt.”

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The court heard Timms heard Timms had no intention of permanently depriving customers or the society of money. Since his arrest he has sought help for his gambling addiction.

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