Woman jailed for £35,000 banks scam
A CON-ARTIST who posed as a self-assured businesswoman to steal £35,000 from bank accounts and fund her drug habit has been jailed for 15 months.Over a period of 10 days Lindsay Simpson visited eight banks in East Anglia and used false passports and bankcards to withdraw sums of money ranging from £500 to £10,000.
A CON-ARTIST who posed as a self-assured businesswoman to steal £35,000 from bank accounts and fund her drug habit has been jailed for 15 months.
Over a period of 10 days Lindsay Simpson visited eight banks in East Anglia and used false passports and bankcards to withdraw sums of money ranging from £500 to £10,000.
Yesterday 26-year-old Simpson swapped her trademark business suits for jeans and a black t-shirt when she appeared in the dock at Ipswich Crown Court to be sentenced for offences of deception.
Jailing her, Recorder Alan Steynor said: “You were clearly cool under pressure when you went into the banks and you were dressed in a business suit.
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“You were keen to give the impression of someone holding an account with a substantial amount of money it.”
He added that Simpson, who had worked as a carer in a community home, had committed the offences to fund her class A drug habit.
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Simpson of Barton Le Clay, Bedfordshire, had pleaded guilty to two offences of dishonestly obtaining money by deception, one offence of attempting to obtain money by deception and asked for five offences to be taken into consideration.
Russell Butcher, prosecuting, told the court that on January 31, 2005 at 1.15pm Simpson entered the NatWest Bank in the Market Place, Stowmarket, dressed in a smart suit and claiming to be account holder Ewa Borowska.
She used a false passport, which had her photograph on it, and a banker's card to withdraw £4,200.
Later the same day she went to the NatWest Bank in Sudbury and withdrew £5,000 from the same account before heading to the NatWest Bank in Bury St Edmunds the next day and taking out a further £10,000.
Six days later on February 7 Simpson withdrew £6,000 from the account of Helen Wilkinson at a branch of Lloyds TSB in Haverhill.
Later the same day Simpson went to the Lloyds TSB in Saffron Walden and withdrew £4,500 before going to another branch of the bank in St Ives where she withdrew a further £5,000.
On February 9 Simpson targeted the account of Rebecca Ford and attempted to withdraw £700 from Lloyds TSB in Market Hill, Sudbury.
Suspicious staff held onto her passport to make further checks and Simpson made an excuse to leave the bank and did not return.
Undeterred by this experience, later the same day she went to another Lloyds TSB branch in Great Dunmow and this time successfully withdrew £500.
Mr Butcher said that none of the individual account holders had been left out of pocket as the losses had been covered by the banks.
She added that on each occasion Simpson's modus operandi had been the same, with her being formally dressed in a business suit and presenting a false passport to persuade staff of her authenticity.
Simpson was arrested in June after police received an anonymous tip off following media coverage, which included the use of CCTV stills.
After her arrest Simpson said she had been part of an organised gang who would contact her by telephone and organise the deceptions. She would then be rewarded with drugs.
She said she would be briefed about details of the accounts, including security passwords, and would be driven to the various banks.
The court heard that in May this year Simpson appeared before magistrates in London for obtaining £2,250 by deception from the Royal Bank of Scotland in London, dishonestly attempting to obtain money and possessing a false passport. The offences had been committed in March.
On that occasion Simpson was made the subject of a community punishment and rehabilitation order.
Christopher Morgan, for Simpson, said that since she was made the subject of the community punishment and rehabilitation order his client had made efforts to rid herself of her dependency on drugs.
He said there was no suggestion that she had been responsible for obtaining the information that enabled her to side step the bank's security checks or that she was responsible for the manufacture of the false passports.
“She was a tool used by sophisticated criminals,” said Mr Morgan.