A ‘stupid’ Lloyds Bank worker sold customers’ bank account details to a friend – who then stripped them of more than £80,000.
Jaspreet Marwaha, 27, was working at a branch in Solihull when she was offered £50 a pop for card details.
In total, she passed over the details of more than 80 customers to Mohammed Saif Maqsood, who would then set up betting accounts with the money.
Between £82,000 and £92,000 was removed from the accounts in just a few months.
The pair escaped immediate prison sentences, instead being handed jail terms of 22 months suspended for two years at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday, August 28, Birmingham Live reports. They had both admitted conspiracy to defraud.
The court was told how Marwaha – who now works at Sky Sports – had laughed at the prospect of going to jail in a text message.
Marwaha was handed the same sentence for a charge of fraud by abuse of position which is to be served concurrently – at the same time.
She must also carry out 35 days of rehabilitation activity and 250 hours of unpaid work. In Maqsood’s case he must complete 20 days of rehabilitation and 250 hours of unpaid work.
A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, to determine any amounts to be repaid, will take place at a later date.
Marwaha, of, Hall Green, Birmingham, began working at the Shirley branch in Solihull in 2009.
It wasn’t until November 2017 when she started selling bank account details, the court heard.
It continued until March 2018 when she was arrested after suspicions arose.
The bank has since managed to recover a large chunk of the money although more than £25,000 remains outstanding, in relation to 45 customer accounts.
The court sentencing followed a two-and-a-half year investigation by police.
Police had seized a mobile phone from Marwaha, and also £1,500 in cash which she said was to pay for a trip to Dubai.
She intially told police in an interview that ‘there was an element of coercion by the co-defendant [Maqsood] who was threatening to reveal an illicit relationship’, prosecutor Jason Avis said.
Text messages from Marwaha’s iPhone X were also analysed. Mr Avis said: “There were various messages showing these defendants speaking about getting 100 sets of bank details for payment of £50 to her per card. In one messages she laughed at the prospect that she might go to jail for this.
“There was talk of her being owed money from the co-defendant. Mr Maqsood asked her for details of an account with over £5,000 in and offered to pay a fee of £500.”
He added: “Mr Maqsood began to get concerned about getting caught and talked about a new plan to make some big money. Police were aware of Mr Maqsood’s possible involvement due to payments he made into Jaspreet Marwaha’s account.”
The investigation revealed Maqsood had set up 48 separate betting accounts with Coral bookmakers, some of which were in Marwaha’s name.
Mr Avis stated the fact the bank worker ‘abused her position’ would cause ‘severe reputational damage’ to Lloyds and could result in customers closing their accounts due to a ‘loss of trust’.
Philippa McAtasney, defending Marwaha, said the offences occurred more than two years ago.
She said: “Back then she views herself as being stupid, naive and thoughtless. She failed to grasp the scale of potential loss at the time. She handed over those details willingly, at that point she was not thinking about the consequences to others at all.”
She continued saying the plot had been Maqsood’s idea and that Marwaha did not make more than £5,000 from it.
She said her ‘previous good character’ included various charity work and argued the fact she has since built up a successful media career – as a Sky Sports assistant producer according to her LinkedIn profile.
The court was told her current employer was not aware of the case against her.
“She has ruined her good name and will most probably lose her dream job,” Ms McAtasney added.
Richard Butcher, defending Maqsood, from Blackburn, similarly argued that his client has made strides to change his life by signing up to GAMSTOP to tackle gambling, starting a new business making cupcakes which employees five people, and was expecting his second child.
He said: “He is terribly ashamed. He was hiding his gambling addiction from his family, from his wife, keeping it a secret from his close friends. That was the root cause. That was him two and half years ago. Since that time he has done almost everything he can to put his life on an even keel.”
The court heard that both defendants were willing to pay compensation and that Marwaha had already saved £4,000 on top of the £1,500 which was seized while Maqsood had transferred more than £28,000 to his solicitors.
What the judge said
Judge Paul Farrer QC, passing sentence, stated that while both defendants ‘blamed each other’ they were both ‘willing and enthusiastic participants in what was taking place’.
He added that Maqsood ‘undoubtedly received the lion share of the profits’.
However he concluded there was ‘significant mitigation’ for each of them. Judge Farrer said Marwaha had since shown herself to be ‘well-liked, ambitious and hard-working’ whilst she had ‘matured considerably’.
Addressing Maqsood he said the ‘most compelling mitigation is what you have done with your life in the last two and half years’, including tackling gambling and starting a new business.