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George Simpson was ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’, but was caught when the executor of a dead man’s will noticed irregularities
This is the banker who admitted fleecing customers to fund his gambling addiction.
George Simpson was “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, but he was caught when the executor of a dead man’s will noticed irregularities in the estate.
The 37-year-old, from Ballymadigan Road, in Castlerock, Derry admitted six charges of fraud dating back to 2015.
Over a period of five months, Simpson abused his position as a personal banker with Santander UK plc to transfer money to his own account.
Simpson had been in a “privileged position” in the bank and had access to computer systems and “financial instruments”.
That included financial bonds, through which a customer lodges a set amount of money for a fixed time with a specific rate of interest to be paid at the end of it.
Abusing the access he had, Simpson cashed in half-a-dozen bonds and paid the money into his own account.
Although the offending took place in 2015, it only came to light in January 2020, when the executor of a dead man’s estate spotted that a bond “had been cashed in early”.
That sparked an internal investigation, which then uncovered Simpson’s other offending.
The total figure swindled by Simpson was £355,096: the fraudster had redeposited £180,280, so the loss in the end was £174,816.
On Tuesday, Antrim Crown Court was told Santander made sure customers did not lose a penny.
Arrested and interviewed in September 2020, Simpson “made full admissions” and told police he had a gambling problem. “He has basically indicated that he had gambled the money trying to make good on his losses, robbing Peter to pay Paul effectively,” a prosecution lawyer said.
He said Simpson had hoped to pay the money back, adding: “Really we say that he is a man of straw and is someone without significant assets.”
The court was told this was a “gross breach of trust” and that “culpability is high”, but that in mitigation Simpson had co-operated with the investigation and admitted his guilt at the first opportunity.
A defence lawyer said, since the offences were uncovered, Simpson’s banking career has ended, he has been working for Translink and has been trying to deal with his gambling addiction.
The judge adjourned the case until later this month to allow time for the defence to gather whatever supporting documents they need.
Simpson was freed on bail in the meantime.