A senior Barclays Bank manager who kept a secret diary using invisible ink while siphoning more than £14,000 from a customer’s savings has been spared jail.
The Old Bailey heard that Vaijawanthi Aneet, 37, kept meticulous notes of more than 20 withdrawals while raiding the customer’s account between May and November 2013.
At the bottom of the diary entries, she wrote: “To pay back with good interest asap.”
Indian-born Aneet, a premier relationship manager at Barclays branches in Holborn and Fenchurch Street, set up a new savings account for customer William Giles to carry out the fraud.
She then moved the funds to a dormant account she controlled, before withdrawing the money from a cashpoint, the court heard.
Aneet admitted the fraud, but said she was forced into it by a man she claimed assaulted her in the past.
Oliver Blunt QC, defending, said Aneet had already paid back all the money she took by surrendering her Barclays pension pot.
Judge Richard Marks QC, the Common Serjeant of London, gave her a three-month jail sentence suspended for a year, and ordered her to pay £2,300 court costs.
He said: “I’m quite satisfied this is an offence completely out of character, and not something that will ever occur in the future.
“The matter is sufficiently serious it can only be dealt with by a sentence of imprisonment, but having regard to the unusual circumstances here, it’s a case where a suspended sentence is appropriate.”
Prosecutor Michael Hall said the funds were taken without Mr Giles noticing between May and November 2013.
He said when confronted over the transactions, Aneet produced a notebook that appeared to be blank.
“In colouring that in, the writing became visible, which shows a series of transactions, marking her withdrawals, and the amount she took,” said Mr Hall.
Aneet gave no comment in interview but claimed in court she was under duress when she committed the fraud.
The court heard she gave £11,000 to an unknown man and kept £3,400 for herself.
Mr Blunt said Aneet is now five months’ pregnant and has been bedridden since she found out she was expecting a child, having suffered three previous miscarriages.
He said the Indian-born banker came to the UK in 2009 on a work visa, and an application to stay longer is currently with the Home Office.
Aneet, of Crawley, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by abuse of position.