A former teller at a London branch of Nationwide has been jailed for more than two years for his part in a £130,000 bank fraud.
Nathan Gilbert, 26, of Enfield, north London, who was said to have abused his position of trust at the bank, pleaded guilty at Southwark crown court to committing fraud and was sentenced earlier this year.
His accomplice, Daniel Frank, 46, of East Finchley, who had nothing to do with the building society branch, was sentenced this week for his part in the crime.
Between October 2020 and September 2021, Gilbert, while working in the Muswell Hill branch, changed bank customers’ account details and fraudulently issued bank passbooks, liaising with Frank to defraud several customers. A total of £130,000 was taken from the victims’ accounts, although they all have since been refunded.
The fraud was spotted by Nationwide and referred to the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), the police department that investigates financial crime.
Officers identified that Gilbert had given Frank several customers’ details. CCTV footage from the bank revealed that Frank had organised for individuals to attend the branches that Gilbert worked at, purporting to be those customers on order to withdraw money or make changes to the accounts.
Gilbert was arrested in October 2021. His mobile phone messages linked him to the accounts of defrauded customers, and revealed his contact with Frank. Officers arrested Frank five months later, and his phones duly linked him to the fraud offences.
Both men pleaded guilty and received custodial sentences, in Frank’s case of three years and four months. Gilbert was sentenced to two years and three months in jail.
Det Con Colin Calvert, who investigated the case for the DCPCU, said: “Gilbert abused his position of trust at the bank, liaising with Frank to callously steal over £130,000 from unsuspecting victims.
“Fortunately, we were able to identify these criminals and bring them to justice, after working closely with the banking and finance industry. This sentencing is a warning to those who believe they can benefit financially from fraud, that they will be caught and punished.”
skip past newsletter promotion
Sign up to Business Today
Get set for the working day – we’ll point you to all the business news and analysis you need every morning
A Nationwide spokesperson said: “While employee fraud is rare, we take it extremely seriously when it does occur. We have robust procedures in place to detect incidents and suspicious activity.
“We are pleased that in this instance the law has taken its course after having assisted the police in securing a prosecution. All those impacted by this incident were refunded.”
More than £1.2bn was stolen through fraud in 2022, with almost 3m cases. The majority of fraud originates outside the banking sector. However, where the fraud involves bank staff, it can be very hard for victims to prove they were not at fault.