Bank adviser accused of aiding theft from customer

Bank adviser accused of aiding theft from customer

A Halifax bank adviser who helped to steal £123,000 from a wealthy customer’s account claimed that fraudsters had threatened to reveal compromising photos of her to her family, a court heard.

Anisyah Ali, 25, passed confidential details to fiancé Salim Hussain, 29, and others in the weeks leading up to their wedding, it was claimed. The information was used to order a new debit card and PIN number, which were used to buy items including cars and jewellery, the Old Bailey was told.

Ms Ali also allegedly used her position as a personal banker to help to remove blocks on the account when the bank became suspicious of the unusual spending activity. By the time the customer, Julian Masters, spotted the fraud, purchases totaling £123,000 had already been approved. The bank declined another £114,000.

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Ali quit her £16,500-a-year job at Halifax’s North Finchley branch in north London the day before she was arrested on 30 May 2012. She initially made no comment, but later told police her husband-to-be had been threatened by a man known as Raza Shah and co-defendant 28-year-old Zain Hussain.

Prosecutor David Hughes said that prior to the offending, her husband had been subjected to a campaign of harassment by way of threats made on his mobile phone. “She also stated that Shah threatened to reveal compromising photos of her to her family,” Mr Hughes said. But the court heard that there was no evidence to back up her claims.

Mr Shah, real name Alexander Saeed, was not standing trial after admitting fraud.

The court heard how on 16 April 2012 Ms Ali accessed Mr Masters’ account while in a private interview room at the bank. She changed the address on the account to one in Southall, west London, and ordered a new debit card and PIN number destined to fall into the hands of the fraudsters, the jury was told.

The card was blocked on a number of occasions between 21 April and 5 May 2012 because of the unusual spending pattern on the account.

Receipts found in Ms Ali’s handbag revealed cash deposits made to her Barclays account totaling more than £1,300. At her Southall home, which she shared with Salim Hussain, receipts were recovered from a local jewellery shop.

Checks at the shop revealed a forged utility bill had been used in conjunction with the debit card to make fraudulent purchases, the jury heard. Other successful transactions included the purchase of two cars, for £7,950 and £6,900.

Ms Ali and Salim Hussain, and Zain Hussain of Hounslow, west London, all deny fraud by false representation. Ms Ali also denies fraud by abuse of position.

The trial continues.