A Santander bank worker who accessed the accounts of customers with six-figure bank balances at a Peterborough branch so fraudsters could raid their accounts was spared jail today (Thursday).
Navern Rankin, (26), abused his position as a personal banker at the company’s Peterborough branch as part of a massive international scam, the Old Bailey heard.
Armed with the details of wealthy customers crooks were able to transfer huge sums of stolen money to foreign exchange accounts in southeast Asia and Hong Kong.
One customer had £440,000 transferred out of his account while an attempted transaction involving £3,000,000 was foiled by vigilant bankers.
Rankin had high-fived colleagues in celebration when an Asian associate, posing as a customer, was forced to leave the Long Causeway branch empty-handed when his boss became suspicious.
He was arrested and police later found text messages containing details of customer accounts Rankin had accessed and one that said: ‘You know I will bring the money up.’
But Rankin, who has been offered a place at Greenwich University, was spared jail after the judge heard how ‘vulnerable’ Rankin was ‘exploited’ and ‘manipulated’ by others.
Sentencing him to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, Judge Stephen Kramer, QC, said: ‘I’m satisfied that what you did was a considerable breach of trust.
‘For what you did at the behest of others as is evidenced from the text messages on your iPhone was to check those accounts in order to enable others to attempt to attack fraudulently by transferring thousands of pounds of money out of Santander and into foreign exchange companies probably to southeast Asia, possibly to Hong Kong.
‘Your role was important, but short. No loss is attributable to what you did. That is not as a result of anything to your credit, but is as a result of the fraud investigators of Santander.’
But he added: ‘You were relatively easy prey to another person who used of at the time of the offending.’
Rankin’s role was described as ‘important’ by prosecutor Martyn Bowyer but limited to a ten-day period between 22 October and 1 November 2012 when no actual losses were suffered.
He accessed five high-balance Santander accounts over the period, including that of
27-year-old investment banker Connor O’Sullivan.
‘None of them had accounts at the branch he worked, had never visited or had any reason to go to Peterborough,’ the prosecutor said.
Rankin accessed the accounts on eight occasions to check balances or change the number of the customer’s mobile phone.
‘Identities of Santander customers would be used to open foreign exchange accounts opened by wholly legitimate companies whose business was the transfer of large amounts of money from UK bank accounts abroad for commercial purposes.’
Mr Bowyer said the fraudsters used fake passports and other documents to trick the companies into opening accounts.
‘During the course of 2012, working together with the regulatory bodies, the foreign exchange companies began to recognise a pattern emerging of Santander customers who would open foreign exchange accounts then try to transfer six-figure sums from Santander abroad.’
Rankin, of (56) Athlone Road, in Brixton, southwest London, admitted conspiring with others to steal. The organisers of the fraud remain at large.