A senior financial advisor has walked free from court despite stealing more than £200,000 from the life savings of six pensioners and blowing it all on football bets. ‘They were people Mr Burnett met face to face or on the telephone and then swindled them of their life saving. Hull Crown Court heard how he ensured his elderly victim’s did not find out about his swindling by diverting their bank statements. 

Although Lloyds Bank dismissed Burnett when the fraudulent behaviour came to light and the firm has since refunded all of the money back to his victims.  How can they say ‘In this case, the fraud was swiftly identified by the bank and we notified the police and the relevant authorities and assisted fully in their investigation.’ when it happened over a five year period.

Marc Burnett, 30, a senior banking advisor for Lloyds Bank, used standing orders to siphon money from the unknowing pensioners’ accounts into ones he ‘controlled’.  Burnett, of Preston, East Yorkshire, stole £226,508 in 45 false transactions between 2008 and 2013 to fund his gambling habit – which started when he was just ten-years-old.

Burnett’s bosses at Lloyds Bank were also duped by his behaviour and the court heard how his senior managers knew nothing of his withdrawals.

Phillips Evans, prosecuting, said Burnett came across as ‘charming and polite’ to his victims despite swindling them for their life savings behind their backs.

He said: ‘The accounts he stole money from were not randomly selected from the computer.  ‘He targeted six customer accounts. One has since died and the other cannot be found. They approached him for financial advice and they trusted him with their life savings.’

Burnett, who served in the RAF when he was younger, pleaded guilty to six charges of fraud after his swindling was uncovered by bosses while he was on a two-week holiday in June last year. 

Defence barrister Anil Murray said his gambling spiralled out of control after winning £1,800 from a £10 bet when he was 21.  He said: ‘In his early 20s he had a flat of his own in the town and he would gamble online on football. ‘He started working for Lloyds and his addiction became worse spending all of his money as soon as he got paid.

‘He started putting bigger and bigger bets on with the aim of winning big. The aim was to repay his debts, but of course the win never came. He would put between £150 and £4,000 on and it spiralled.

‘He lost his flat. He could not see a way out of the debt and began stealing. His thinking was distorted. He became low and depressed. He knew he would be caught.’
e said Burnett had since split up with his girlfriend and moved back in with his mother and is now attending a gambling anonymous group after last placing a bet on February 8.

In a statement read out in court, victim Paul Barron told how he felt ‘betrayed’ by the fraudster.

He said: ‘My trust had been completely breached. What made it worse was he advised me to close my accounts with other banks and pool all my money with Lloyds.’

Fellow victim Mary Orvis said: ‘He was a nice smart, young fellow. I felt he had targeted me.’

And Alan Shippey, who was also targeted by Burnett, said: ‘I placed my trust in the bank to look after my finances. I’m angry about what he has done.’

Sentencing, Recorder Jonathan Carroll told Burnett: ‘What you have done drives a dagger into the heart of the banking system and the trust that people must feel in their banks. 

‘Their rewards for hard work in life must be saved. These people saw you as a charming young man. 

‘In your case you made unauthorised standing orders, closed down account and moved money to your own all to fund your gambling addiction. It is an addiction you have to tackle.

‘I have thought long and hard about whether I can suspend your sentence of two years imprisonment. 

‘It is clear you are remorseful, not just to the bank, but also to the customers you stole from.’

He added: ‘It cannot be said this was out of character because you have been gambling for 10 years. Your family are distraught at your behaviour which is understandable because you are a gambling thief.’

Lloyds Bank declined to say which branch Burnett worked at but said in a statement: ‘We take our custo
mers’ security very seriously and work closely with the police to combat fraud.

Burnett was handed a two year suspended sentence and ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.


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