A former Santander adviser has been handed a bankruptcy order after misappropriating £87,000 from clients’ funds and using it to fund his lifestyle and gambling habit.
An investigation by the Insolvency Service found Christopher Wathen, a client relationship manager at Santander, abused his position of trust by stealing £87,365 from two customers’ investment portfolios and transferring it into three of his own bank accounts.
When a colleague became aware of the transfers, the bank commenced its own investigations and reported the matter to West Midlands Police.
Wathen was sentenced to two years and three months in prison for fraud in September.
In January 2013 a bankruptcy order was made against Wathen on his own petition.
Last week he was handed an 11-year bankruptcy restriction by the Insolvency Service. It means he is bound for 11 years by bankruptcy restrictions, which normally only apply for 12 months. These include a ban on acting as a director of a company, and a requirement to disclose his bankruptcy status to a credit provider to obtain credit of more than £500.
Central Midlands Official Receiver’s Office official receiver John Taylor says: “Wathen held a position of trust, which he took advantage of, choosing instead to exploit this for his own gain.”
A spokeswoman for Santander says: “We take fraud very seriously and cases of this kind are extremely rare. After an internal investigation uncovered fraudulent activity, we informed the police and worked closely with them.
“The customers impacted have been informed and reimbursed with any funds misappropriated.”
Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director Dennis Hall says: “Santander may wish to look at its systems to see how this was allowed to happen, but there will always be rogue individuals looking to break the rules for their own gain.”