TSB fraud worker used position to defraud £87k from bank to fund gambling and drug habits

25.08.23 Benjamin Hannington NCL Court Credit: NCJ Media
Newcastle Crown Court gave a suspended sentence to TSB assistant fraud manager Benjamin Hannington after defrauded the bank out of more than £87k. Credit: NCJ Media

A TSB fraud worker used his position to defraud the bank of almost £90,000 to fund a gambling and cocaine habit.

Benjamin Hannington, an assistant manager in TSB's fraud operations department, transferred large sums to himself under the guise of them being customer refunds.

The 42-year-old, from Gateshead, pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to fraud by false representation and was given a suspended two-year sentence with a drug rehabilitation requirement.

Hannington, of Knightside Garden, also faces proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act to try and recover the 19 payments he illegally made to himself totalling £87,750.

Sentencing Hannington, 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."

Hannington began working as an assistant manager for TSB's fraud operations department in 2007 and his role was primarily to arrange refunds to customers' bank accounts.

Benjamin Hannington abused his position so that it looked as if funds were going to a legitimate recipient rather than himself. Credit: NCJ Media

However, between October 2020 and July 2022, he made 19 payments totalling £87,750 to his own personal accounts under the guise of them being customer refunds.

Using inside knowledge obtained through his role, he was able to get away with it for 21 months before he was discovered by a TSB fraud investigator.

Neil Jones, prosecuting, 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.

"Given his position in the fraud prevention department he was in a unique position to authorise himself. There were three or four payments where authorisation had been sought by email. Throughout, senior management had not received those emails."

When he made a request in his capacity as fraud manager to make a transaction, Hannington would substitute his own account details to make it look like it was going to a legitimate recipient.

Nick Lane, defending, said Hannington is "deeply ashamed" and added that no customers lost out or fell under suspicion. He 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.

Mr Lane said: "He has lost his good name and lost his career and has suffered stress and anxiety. 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 added that Hannington has quit gambling and drugs with his girlfriend now controlling his finances.

"Deeply ashamed" Hannington was given a suspended two-year sentence with a drug rehabilitation requirement. Credit: NCJ Media

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