Lloyds 

Financial adviser accused of £31K fraud

Financial adviser accused of £31K fraud

A former financial adviser accused of a £31,000 fraud replied "absolutely not" when she was asked if she stole from a customer.

Jurors heard Carlene Butler's firm denial in her evidence from the witness stand at her trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

Her barrister, Katrina Wilson, put the question to her as she went over Butler's role at Lloyds Bank and her dealings with the alleged victim; a 69-year-old woman with vascular dementia.

Butler worked for Lloyds Bank at various branches for around 17 years. She is no longer employed there by her "own choice".

She was based at the Lower Parliament Street branch, in Nottingham, when the fraud is said to have happened.

The alleged victim visited the bank mostly on a Monday and Thursday, although sometimes it was not always possible for her to stick to those days.

"Unless I was not there, she would not deal with anyone else," Butler told the court. "She was very embarrassed by her finances. A very proud woman. I loved her coming in. It was lovely to see her".

Asked if it was usual for members of staff to contact customers over the phone, Butler said "absolutely".

She recalled a time when the woman had phoned her at 6am.

"I was generally concerned about her," she said. "I phoned her back.

"Generally she phoned me, telling me when she was coming into the bank".

The jury has seen a Lloyds TSB business card bearing Butler's name, Lloyds's landline number and a mobile number in pen.

Miss Wilson asked her if she had given that to the woman, and Butler told her "yes".

She said there was a direct bank number but, if the call was not answered after ten rings, it would go to a central call centre, then back to the bank.

This was upsetting for customers like the woman, so she gave her personal contact number.

Miss Wilson asked her if it was normal for banking customers to have her mobile number and Butler replied "I would say normal".

Butler, 49, of Hazelwood Drive, Hucknall, denies fraud, concerning £31,815, between June 17, 2013, and February 20 this year.

James Keeley, prosecuting, had earlier told the jury that the stealing became more regular in July 2015 and continued until Butler's arrest in 2018.

Butler opened accounts for the woman, moved her money from one account to another and took out loans for her.

She would also accompany her to the cash point and enter her pin code and an amount of money would be withdrawn.

In order to steal from her "the defendant illegally used her work computer", said Mr Keeley.

On the judge's direction yesterday (December 17) the jury found her not guilty on 24 charges under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The trial continues