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Bank worker in £120,000 theft jailed for a year

A BANK worker has been jailed for a year after stealing £120,000 from a customer.

Satnam Kaur claimed she was gifted the cash as 'hush money' from a wealthy client she alleged had touched her inappropriately.

The 30-year-old said oil and gas worker Robert Brown had offered her the money to stop her reporting him to the police.

But the former RBS worker had stolen large sums of money from Mr Brown and transferred it into the bank account of another customer, Robert Mann. She then wrote a cheque to herself and sent a large sum of cash back home to India.

Kaur, who formerly stayed in Aberdeen, but has been living in Glasgow, was found guilty of the theft after she went on trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court earlier this month.

Sentence had been deferred for reports and yesterday she was jailed for a year. However, Kaur would have faced a longer sentence but for a paperwork error by the Crown.

She was originally charged on indictment and was due to go on trial facing similar charges last year.

But the trial collapsed after it emerged the Crown had made a mistake. The essential words "By authority of Her Majesty's Advocate", which are required by law, were missing from the indictment paperwork served against the accused.

This meant the indictment was incompetent.

A fresh prosecution was launched under summary proceedings.

Sheriff Chris Shead yesterday said the sentencing powers would have been far greater if Kaur had been found guilty on indictment.

Defence lawyer Peter Keene said his client was sorry Mr Mann had to come to court to give evidence as he was "elderly and infirm" .

The lawyer added: "Her position was he had offered her assistance to transfer this money but, of course, he denied that."

Kaur was working as a customer adviser at the RBS Albyn Place branch in ­Aberdeen when she stole the cash between October 20 and November 21, 2011.

By using her unique identification number to access Mr Brown's account, she arranged to draw a banker's draft for that sum payable to Mr Mann.

The bank worker claimed she had asked Mr Mann's permission to use his account for a bank transfer.

She told the court during the trial: "Mr Mann, I had known him for the last five years. He was like a father figure to me.

"I used to go to his place and cook for him. He gave me earrings as well."

But Mr Mann said in his evidence he had no prior knowledge of this transfer taking place from his account and stressed he had not given any permission.

Mr Brown did not even notice the missing cash transferred on October 20, 2011 until he was informed by the authorities, who were called in to investigate.

Several large sums of cash had been transferred from Mr Brown's bank accounts to Mr Mann's, adding up to a total sum of £120,000.

A cheque was then written out for the same amount in the name of Mr Mann to Kaur's Lloyds TSB account.

None of the cash can be recovered but Mr Brown has since been reimbursed by the bank.

Kaur was also found guilty of removing £88,000 of the cash out of Scotland after she went on trial earlier this month.

Sheriff Christopher Shead yesterday noted Kaur did not accept responsibility for her crime and that the stolen cash had not been recovered.

He said he was satisfied a ­custodial sentence was appropriate for the case.

Police Scotland Detective Sergeant Stephen Cole said: "This bank employee took advantage of her position of trust to commit the theft. We welcome the sentence passed down."

Contextual targeting label: 
Finance

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