Norwich bank employee fleeces customers out of �20,000

A personal banking advisor at Santander in Norwich transferred more than �20,000 from two customers' accounts into his own over a 12-month period to feed his cocaine habit, a court heard.

Michael Tooth, from Armes Street, off Old Palace Road in Norwich, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position under the Fraud Act when he appeared at Norwich Magistrates' Court yesterday.

Both counts related to the period between February 1, 2010 and January 31, 2011 when the 21-year-old was employed at the Castle Meadow branch.

The court heard that two customers were fleeced of �8,750 and �11,937.17 respectively, and Tooth was found out by fraud investigators at the bank.

The case was committed to crown court for sentencing but no date was fixed.

Prosecuting, Lisa Britton said: 'The defendant targeted two customers to steal from because of their age and his perception of their wealth.

'He took different amounts from the two women on a regular basis over the course of a year. He would transfer money from their accounts into his own.

Most Read

'On occasions he did it without being present at the branch and once got an inexperienced member of staff to do it, by telling her that the customer was in his office when she was not.

'Both customers targeted were in their senior years and he earned their trust but then betrayed it.'

She said that when he was found out, he admitted that he befriended the two customers, and had initially been taking money from the till, but had stopped because he feared he might be caught.

He said the reason he stole the money was to feed his cocaine habit, and admitted that he had transferred the money into his account on a weekly basis.

On hearing the facts, District Judge Philip Browning said his sentencing powers at the court were insufficient and the case was committed to crown court for sentencing, at a date to be fixed.

Tooth was released on bail.