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Court hears new relationship prompted thefts from Worcestershire bank
7:29am Tuesday 7th January 2014 in News
A BANK worker who was keen to socialise with her new partner stole almost £17,000 from the bank she worked at to pay for it, a court has been told.
Catherine Finney, who would regularly steal small amounts from the till she was responsible for at the Droitwich branch of Barclays, covered up her thefts by carrying out more than 100 “inter-till transfers”, making the missing money more difficult to spot.
Worcester Crown Court was told how the 25-year-old used the bank accounts of two elderly savers to launder some of her stolen haul, which totalled £16,980, between January 2011 and March 2013.
Finney, of Stalls Farm Road, Droitwich, was sentenced to 18 months behind bars yesterday after admitting one count of theft and two of fraud.
Judge Michael Cullum said she had been in a position of very high trust at the bank, which she had systematically breached to pay to “advance” her lifestyle.
“You took the money for your own living standards, which may not have been as lavish as some, but it was certainly beyond that which you would have legitimately been able to afford. It was simply to advance your lifestyle.”
“On almost a daily basis, you would take small amounts of money over a two-year period from the till at which you were the sole worker,” Judge Cullum said.
“You made, in total, 108 inter-till transfers which enabled the period over which you stole money to be as long as it was.
"Anyone working in the banking industry is, by definition, in a high position of trust.
“The calculated nature of deceptions, the efforts you made in masking it, and the number of occasions you took money are all aggravating factors.”
He sentenced her to 18 months in prison.
During the scam, the two elderly customers made no actual loss, the court was told, with Finney passing off queries over mystery transactions on their statements as banking errors.
She also replaced their postal statements with email statements.
Defending, Paul Stanley told the court Finney was in debt and had started to see a new partner, and wanted to be able to go out socialising with him.
He added that she was “very remorseful” about what had happened, which was why she had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity when she first appeared before magistrates.
A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will be held on April 1 to determine if Finney will have to pay back any of the money.
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