Banker stole thousands from vulnerable customers

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A personal banking advisor working for Santander siphoned money from the accounts of vulnerable customers because he had multiple debts, a court heard.

Craig Miller asked a friend if he could open an account in her name saying he was having relationship problems and wanted to keep his money separate from his partner.

Once she agreed and handed over the bank card and PIN number he began his fraud, opening more accounts in that woman’s name without her knowledge.

Michael Smith, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday (Thursday) that Miller’s first acquisition came from transferring £12,000 from the account of an elderly woman suffering from dementia knowing she was unlikely to notice.

Subsequently he went to her home and got her to sign forms allowing him to move money around her accounts.

Through that process he was able to take a further £20,000 from her, £4,000 of which he used to repay money he had taken by then from the account of a 91-year-old customer.

That pensioner had got to know Miller when he went into withdrew money from his account at the Commercial Street branch in Leeds.

He also targeted a third customer who was elderly and could read and write little English.

By the time his dishonesty was discovered he had taken a total of £79,000.

Miller, 39 of Providence Court, Dewsbury, was jailed for 28 months after admitting three charges of fraud by abuse of position.

Recorder Tony Kelbrick told him: “No person in your official capacity in your profession can do what you did and avoid a custodial sentence and it will have to be immediate.”

“Those who work in the bank must be trusted, the public must have confidence in the banking system.”

Michael Walsh representing Miller said his debts included a £50,000 negative equity on a house in Derby.

He had naively thought in his desperation he would be able to repay the customers when his financial situation improved.

“He knows he has destroyed a very promising career and lost the job he loved by his actions.”