Suffolk bank manager jailed for fraud

THE manager of a Suffolk bank set up overdrafts on two customers' dormant accounts and used them to pay off his debts, a court has heard.

THE manager of a Suffolk bank set up overdrafts on two customers' dormant accounts and used them to pay off his debts, a court has heard.

Lee Newrick, 31, had been in charge at Southwold's Barclays branch when he committed the offences over a six-month period.

Yesterday , Newrick, of Townend Way, Lowestoft, was jailed for 14 months at Ipswich Crown Court after pleading guilty to four offences of false accounting.

The court was told how Newrick had identified two accounts belonging to customers who had moved to New Zealand and decided to use them to ease his own financial pressures.

Prosecutor Godfried Duah said Newrick had set up a £15,000 overdraft on each of the accounts which had supposed to have been closed and then used the money, along with a £15,000 overdraft he authorised for himself, for his own purposes.

Mr Duah said that Newrick had been manager at the Southwold branch from December 2004 until last August.

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The offences had been committed between October 2006 and March 2007 during which time he used the money obtained to go on holiday to New York and pay off debts.

When officials at Barclays became suspicious an internal investigation was launched and as a result of the offences coming to light Newrick made a full admission.

Barclays had calculated that the total benefit to Newrick had been £42,380, said Mr Duah.

In mitigation, Richard Potts said Newrick was genuinely remorseful for what he had done.

Mr Potts said that Newrick had previously worked abroad in a well paid job but when he lost that he turned to the bank for a career and quickly rose from cashier to branch manager - but the salary was not high enough to cope with his financial commitments.

Newrick, who had helped with charity fundraising and was well liked among work colleagues, had breached the considerable level of trust placed in him by his employers and that would hang over him for a long time, the court heard.

Mr Potts said: "It has been a fall from grace that has been immense for one who is his age.”

Newrick had found it difficult to come to terms with his financial situation and "buried his head in the sand", said Mr Potts, not even telling his wife of his predicament.

None of the money taken had been used to finance an extravagant lifestyle and all had been reimbursed to the customers involved by Barclays.

Having lost his job with Barclays, Newrick was now employed as an agency worker in a factory

manufacturing fish fingers, Mr Potts added.

Jailing Newrick, Judge John Devaux told him: "Apart from these offences you can be said to

be of positively good character".

But the judge said because of the breach of trust involved and the seriousness of what Newrick

had done, only a prison term was appropriate.

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