Gambling addict bank manager jailed for customer thefts

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A bank manager has been jailed for four years after stealing from the accounts of elderly customers to fund his online gambling addiction.

James Finnigan, 42, spent hours on his computer playing games which ate up the £616,000 he stole over five years, the Old Bailey heard.

Finnigan, of Twickenham, south-west London, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of fraud involving 43 transactions.

The frauds began with £9,000 and escalated to £252,000.

The father of two had been the financial planning manager at Barclays Bank in Twickenham when he became addicted to gambling.

Gambling 'snowballing'

The court heard that when he had emptied his credit cards of £50,000, he began taking money from 12 accounts of people who were in their 80s or had died.

One of the accounts was a trust set up for a 40-year-old Down's Syndrome sufferer by her elderly mother.

Martin Sharpe, defending, said: "The gambling was snowballing out of control.

"He did not realise the extent of what he was doing. It is a wicked vice. He is a broken man, crippled by shame."

Finnigan had offered to pay back £123,000 from his pension funds.

The judge, Recorder Jeremy Benson QC, told Finnigan: "These are very serious offences over a long period of time. You were in a position of trust."

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