"she laughed at the prospect that she might go to jail"
A banker sold customer account details to her gambling addict friend for £50 each, who then stole over £80,000 from them.
Jaspreet Marwaha, aged 27, of Hall Green, Birmingham, supplied information on 82 accounts to Mohammed Saif Maqsood, of Blackburn, including how much money was in them.
Marwaha began working at the Shirley branch of Lloyds Bank in Solihull in 2009.
She sold bank account details from November 2017 to March 2018.
After suspicions arose, she was arrested. A mobile phone was seized as well as £1,500 in cash she claimed was for a trip to Dubai.
It emerged that dozens of accounts Marwaha had accessed had been defrauded.
The prosecutor Jason Avis said she initially told police that “there was an element of coercion by the co-defendant [Maqsood] who was threatening to reveal an illicit relationship”.
Text messages from Marwaha’s phone were also analysed. Mr Avis said:
“There were various messages showing these defendants speaking about getting 100 sets of bank details for payment of £50 to her per card. In one message she laughed at the prospect that she might go to jail for this.
“There was talk of her being owed money from the co-defendant. Mr Maqsood asked her for details of an account with over £5,000 in and offered to pay a fee of £500.”
He added: “Mr Maqsood began to get concerned about getting caught and talked about a new plan to make some big money.
“Police were aware of Mr Maqsood’s possible involvement due to payments he made into Jaspreet Marwaha’s account.”
Maqsood had set up 48 separate betting accounts with Coral bookmakers, some of which were in Marwaha’s name.
Mr Avis said the banker had “abused her position”, would cause “severe reputational damage” to Lloyds and could result in customers closing their accounts due to a “loss of trust”.
Between £82,000 and £92,000 was removed from the 85 accounts. A large chunk of the money has been recovered, however, over £25,000 remains outstanding, in relation to 45 customer accounts.
Philippa McAtasney, defending Marwaha, said: “Back then she views herself as being stupid, naive and thoughtless. She failed to grasp the scale of potential loss at the time. She handed over those details willingly, at that point she was not thinking about the consequences to others at all.”
She went on to say that the fraud had been Maqsood’s idea before saying that her client had built up a successful media career as a Sky Sports assistant producer.
The court was told her current employer was not aware of the case against her.
Richard Butcher, defending Maqsood, said:
“He is terribly ashamed. He was hiding his gambling addiction from his family, from his wife, keeping it a secret from his close friends. That was the root cause.
“That was him two and half years ago. Since that time he has done almost everything he can to put his life on an even keel.”
Birmingham Crown Court heard that both defendants were willing to pay compensation.
Judge Paul Farrer QC stated that while both defendants “blamed each other” they were both “willing and enthusiastic participants in what was taking place”.
He added that Maqsood “undoubtedly received the lion share of the profits”.
However, he said there was “significant mitigation” for each of them. Judge Farrer said Marwaha had since shown herself to be “well-liked, ambitious and hard-working” whilst she had “matured considerably”.
Addressing Maqsood he said the “most compelling mitigation is what you have done with your life in the last two and half years”, including tackling gambling and starting a new business.
Both were sentenced to 22 months in prison, suspended for two years for conspiracy to defraud.
The banker received the same sentence for a charge of fraud by abuse of position which is to be served concurrently at the same time.
Marwaha must also carry out 35 days of rehabilitation activity and 250 hours of unpaid work.
Maqsood must complete 20 days of rehabilitation and 250 hours of unpaid work.
A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will take place at a later date.