A Cheltenham & Gloucester branch manager has been jailed for a year for stealing £40,000 in customers’ mortgage repayment cheques and paying them into her own accounts.
Irina Bartlett, 37, who worked at C&G’s Beast Market Hill branch in Nottingham, admitted a series of theft charges when she appeared before Nottingham Crown Court.
The court was told that when customers paid cheques into the bank to cover their mortgage she would select certain cheques and pay them into one of three personal C&G accounts that she had opened.
She was able to keep the fraud running for two and a half years by stealing from a wide variety of customers and only taking small amounts, prosecutor Peter Walmsley told the court.
However, the scam unrav- elled in 2007 when she was on holiday and a mortgage broker asked for a cheque to be returned.
A search of accounts at the branch was unable to find the cheque and when a co-worker opened a drawer in Bartlett’s desk and found the three chequebooks, internal company investigators were called in.
The court then heard that Bartlett was dismissed, the police were alerted and charges were brought. In mitigation, it was said Bartlett had not lived the high life but had used the money for everyday living. It was added that she was now receiving counselling and that most of the money could be repaid from an inheritance she had received.
But Judge Michael Stokes said he had no alternative to jailing her as she was in a position of trust and her offences amoun- ted to “persistent, deliberate dishonesty.”