"the defendant took advantage of this."
Building society worker Nialah Afser, aged 37, was jailed for four years on June 13, 2019, at Birmingham Crown Court after she stole almost £105,000 from vulnerable victims.
She abused her position at Yorkshire Building Society to fleece the accounts of victims including the elderly and cancer patients.
They had “trusted her implicitly” and even exchanged chocolates, flowers and thank you cards.
Afser put the money in her accounts and spent it on luxuries such as a holiday to Dubai and designer goods from Prada and Chanel.
Afser, of Hodge Hill, Birmingham, spent three years and three months conning customers at the New Street branch before she was arrested in 2016.
When she was arrested, she blamed her employers for her crimes.
It was heard that Afser was appointed as “deceased champion” at the building society after obtaining the job using bogus references.
She was described as “polite, charming and attentive”. The building society worker would take customers into a side room where she would gain their trust.
Afser would then unlawfully access their accounts and withdrawing sums of cash after getting them to sign debit slips.
The prosecutor Graham Huston explained that a cancer patient had gone into the branch in August 2015 for help as she was undergoing chemotherapy but ended up having £7,000 stolen from her.
Mr Huston said: “It was also clear to the defendant that this customer was trying to put her affairs in order, anticipating a bad outcome to her cancer and the defendant took advantage of this.”
One customer, who had been made redundant after 23 years, had £36,000 stolen by Afser.
Mr Huston explained: “When the defendant was arrested and interviewed, she said all the allegations had been fabricated by Yorkshire Building Society to get rid of her and she was to say in her interviews in relation to each of the complainants that they were liars.”
Ben Williams, defending Afser, said his client “struggles to understand her own behaviour”.
He said: “The defendant’s behaviour was appalling and would appal any right thinking person listening to listening to the facts of the case.”
Afser previously pleaded guilty to 19 counts of fraud. Judge Richard Bond told her:
“You really do not have remorse in this case and when I mean remorse, I mean feelings or remorse towards the victims.”
All the victims were fully refunded by Yorkshire Building Society. They also received an additional £500 in compensation.
Judge Bond added: “I hope that the victims of these offences and the building society take heart in the fact that the court will impose long sentences.
“This is no fault of the building society themselves.”
Birmingham Mail reported that Nialah Afser was sentenced to four years in prison.
Following the sentence, Detective Constable Gary Kinch, of the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) said:
“This criminal abused her position of trust to prey on vulnerable customers and commit hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fraud.
“This was a particularly callous crime and the judge has rightly handed down a custodial sentence of four years.
“The DCPCU will continue to work closely with the banking industry to investigate cases of insider fraud and ensure those responsible are brought to justice.”