Gateshead bank boss used his position in fraud department to deliver £87,000 into his own accounts

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The 42-year-old had worked at the bank since 2007.

A bank boss who used his position in the fraud department to divert £87,000 into his own accounts has kept his freedom.

Benjamin Hannington was an assistant manager in TSB's fraud operations when he used his insider knowledge to transfer cash to himself but gave it the appearance of being customer refunds.

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The 42-year-old had worked at the bank since 2007 but between October 2020 and July 2022, in Gateshead, he made 19 payments to Santander and Monzo accounts, belonging to himself, totalling £87,750.

Newcastle Crown CourtNewcastle Crown Court
Newcastle Crown Court

Hannington, 42, of Knightside Gardens, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, who spent the money to fund his gambling and cocaine habits, admitted fraud by false representation.

Prosecutor Neil Jones said: "The technique used was he would email those in his department and seek refund payments for individual named recipients.

"The payments came into his bank account and on some occasions the email trail made it look as though he had requested authorisation from a senior manager but in fact that was bogus and he was sending emails to himself.

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"Given his position in the fraud prevention department he was in a unique position to authorise himself.

"The m.o. was a request from him in his capacity as fraud manager to his own team to make the transaction then he would substitute his own account details so it appeared to be going to a legitimate recipient but was going to him."

The court heard the scam was discovered by a TSB fraud investigator.

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Mr Jones added: "He said he committed the offence of fraud using his position to fund a gambling and drug problem."

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Hannington was sentenced to two years suspended for two years with a drug rehabilitation requirement. He also faces proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act, where any assets he has may be seized.

Judge Sarah Mallett told him: "It's a serious breach of trust due to your role in the fraud department. I accept you are remorseful and have taken steps to address your addiction and I accept you are genuinely ashamed of what you did."

Nick Lane, defending, said Hannington is "deeply ashamed" and added that no customers lost out.

Mr Lane said part of Hannington's role was to ensure refunds were sent to customers who had moved their accounts elsewhere and he used details from previous refunds to make the fraudulent transfers.

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Mr Lane said: "He was struggling with a gambling addiction at the time and had also become addicted to cocaine. He was essentially gambling 24 hours a day and using cocaine to keep him alert.

"He had informed his line manager he had a problem with gambling. He said it was something of a relief to him when his offending was discovered."

Mr Lane said Hannington had now quit gambling and drugs and his girlfriend has control of his finances.

He lost his job but is now self-employed and earning £150 a week.

Mr Lane added: "He has lost his good name and lost his career and has suffered stress and anxiety."