A GREEDY Leamington bank cashier made a series of withdrawals from a vulnerable customer’s account – and took the cash home with him in his lunchbox.
Neil Harvey’s dishonesty only came to light after his 70-year-old victim tried to withdraw some money over the counter at the HSBC, only to be told he was overdrawn.
The 55 year-old of Oldbutt Road, Shipston-on Stour, was jailed for two years and four months at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to fraud in abuse of a position of trust.
Prosecutor Laura Culley said Harvey had worked for HSBC for 36 years, and at the branch in the Parade, for the last six of those.
But between April last year and March this year he took a total of £61,330 from the account of the elderly customer in a large number of transactions.
The pensioner, who was vulnerable not just because of his age but because he was unable to read or write, mainly made over-the-counter withdrawals from his account.
Because of that Harvey was able to take advantage of his position as a cashier at the bank, while helping the customer with legitimate transactions, to obtain paperwork with his signature on which he could then use himself.
Miss Culley said Harvey would withdraw cash from the old man’s account and conceal it in his lunch box before taking it home and then bringing it back the next day to pay into his own account.
Judge Alan Parker observed: “The defendant targeted his account, he didn’t target anyone else’s, and he used the man’s account in effect as if it was his own.”
The frauds only came to light when the pensioner went into the bank and tried to withdraw some money from his account, which should have had more than £60,000 in it, only to be told he was overdrawn.
When Harvey was arrested he admitted what he had been doing, saying he had used the money to pay family bills, and added he had also been using money from his daughter’s savings account.
Miss Culley added the customer had been reimbursed by the HSBC, and the bank had written to Harvey to say they intend to recover a total of £65,387 from his pension.
Observing that figure would include interest his victim had lost, Judge Parker ordered Harvey to pay £65,387 in compensation to the bank.
Paul O’Keefe, defending, explained it started when father-of-three Harvey had financial difficulties, with debts of £15,000 at the time, and he needed assistance with a bill which was not going to be paid.
“He assured his wife that everything would be in order – and having seen how the customer did his banking, he was tempted to put some money in his lunch box and pay it into his account the next day.”
Jailing Harvey, Judge Parker told him: “You had led an exemplary life up until the spring of last year.
“But from then on, for a period of about 11 months, I’m afraid I am driven to the conclusion that you targeted him as your intended victim because you recognised that he was a man with significant savings in his bank account and that he was a very vulnerable man.
“He was well into his 70s and cannot read or write, and therefore was very vulnerable.
“This was a severe abuse of a position of trust and responsibility, and involved the deliberate targeting of a vulnerable victim.
“Members of the public need to know they can trust employees at their bank not to identify them as potential targets in order to steal money from them.”