A former bank manager from North Somerset has been jailed for 40 months after stealing more than £100,000 from his employers.
Benjamin Thornton (aged 32), of Elgar Close in Clevedon, was jailed at Bristol Crown Court today (Tuesday 23 July).
He had admitted at a previous court appearance to stealing from his employers (the Royal Bank of Scotland), between 2012 and 2015, when he was manager of the Baldwin Street branch in Bristol.
During a reorganisation within the bank and the appointment of a new manager at the Baldwin Street branch concern was raised and an independent check of cash at the branch requested, which resulted in a shortfall of £190,000 being identified.
An internal investigation showed that between 25 June (2012) and 29 December (2015) 53 fraudulent transactions were completed. An initial shortfall of £7000 increased to £190,000.
Thornton had been taking cash from the branch and hiding the shortfall by moving money around within the bank, so that no-one else would notice.
The police were called.
Further enquiries showed that Thornton alone would be involved in the daily running of the bank, including counting cash at the end of the day; counting cash for audit checks; and even coming into the bank to continue the procedures when he was supposed to be on annual leave.
He initially denied the offences and said that someone else must have used his ID to carry out the theft of the cash, however CCTV coverage showed him attending the branch when he was on annual leave when his ID was used to key in fraudulent transactions.
At an appearance at Bristol Crown Court on 10 June Thornton admitted the offence and was released on bail to re-appear for sentencing today (23 July), where he received a three year four month jail sentence.
Financial investigator Susanna Fox of the Avon and Somerset Police’s Complex Crime Unit, said: “This was a complex fraud sustained over a significant period of time, which caused a substantial loss to the bank.
“The offence was committed by Benjamin Thornton following detailed pre-planning and continued throughout the time he held a senior management position within the bank. He betrayed the trust placed on him by his employers and misled those employees that he managed.
“This is not a victimless crime and such offending has a big impact on the wider public as a whole.
“Benjamin Thornton was brought to justice as a result of detailed and lengthy investigation by the police and other partners. The sentence imposed by the court today recognises the gravity of offence and demonstrates that doesn’t pay,” said the financial investigator.