Suffolk credit union manager jailed for £100,000 fraud

The branch manager of a credit union has been jailed after he admitted stealing more than £100,000 from customers' accounts.

Simon Pain, 40, of no fixed address, stole the money from Ipswich and Suffolk Credit Union.

On Friday he admitted two counts of fraud and converting criminal property and on Monday was sentenced to 32 months in jail at Ipswich Crown Court.

Money was discovered to be missing from about 300 customers' accounts.

The offences took place over two-and-a-half years, between April 2008 and September 2010.

A police investigation found Pain credited cash deposits to accounts but kept the money for himself, set up fake loans and also cashed cheques payable to himself.

Investigating officer Det Con Darrell Dunnett of Ipswich CID said: "This was a lengthy and complex investigation into the theft of tens of thousands of pounds deposited by local, sometimes vulnerable people.

"The nature of the credit union means their members are often unable to get financial services elsewhere, and so are increasingly dependent upon the credit union for their banking needs.

"Pain exploited this vulnerability and kept their cash for himself."

'Let down'

Sally Chicken, volunteer director at the credit union, said she was satisfied with Pain's jail term.

"It's a custodial sentence and it reflects the seriousness of the breach of trust by a very senior manager in the organisation," she said.

"We felt he let down the ethos of the credit union and the trust of his team and our members.

"We're not a huge organisation that can take something like that in their stride. It's had a big effect on our growth and on our operations."

But she said the credit union had received "heart-warming" messages of support from members and had processed £950,000 in new deposits over the past 10 months.

New procedures and computer software had been put into place in order to reduce the risk of fraud, she added.

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