A Halifax customer service adviser who forged a pensioner’s signature to plunder almost £3,000 from his account to cover credit card debts has avoided a jail sentence today (4 January).
Ikram Ahmed, 30, made 23 transactions in William Smikle’s name while working for the bank in Bayswater, west London, between July 2012 and November 2014.
Mr Smikle, who has mobility problems, had never even visited Ahmed’s branch in Queensway and finally alerted Halifax to the suspicious withdrawals.
He lost £2,850 in the scam, but was reimbursed by the bank, which has since sacked Ahmed, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
Ahmed was handed a 12 month sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to undertake 180 hours’ unpaid work and to repay Halifax the £2,850 as well as costs of £100.
Harriet Johnson, defending, said Ahmed had “no excuse” for the offence, but urged the judge to pass a suspended sentence on the basis that it was “out of character”.
The judge, Mr Recorder Ian Bourne, QC, told Ahmed: “You are now 30 years of age and until you pleaded guilty to the offence of fraud by abuse of position in the magistrates court, you were hitherto a man of good character.
“You were someone who obtained a credit card and begun to build up significant debts.
“You say that you intended to repay these sums of money, but you clearly never did and you were eventually caught because Mr Smikle noticed a suspicious withdrawal from a different bank to which he usually uses.
He added: “I accept that apart from this very serious offence you are someone who has led an otherwise blameless life.”
Ahmed, of Leyton, east London, admitted fraud by abuse of position.