A BANK worker stole £15,000 from an elderly customer’s account in a bid to disguise the fact that she had been stealing money from a cash machine.
Dawn Howe committed the offence while working as a customer services adviser for Halifax Bank .
Leeds Crown Court heard Howe began stealing £1,000 at a time from the cash machine at the branch where she worked in Normanton, Wakefield, when her husband’s business got into financial difficulties.
Dave Mackay, prosecuting, said Howe would then pay the stolen sums into her own account which she used to pay family bills but did not tell her husband about her offending.
Mr Mackay said mother-of-two Howe, 45, then targeted an account belonging to an elderly customer. The account was not used regularly so Howe withdrew £15,000 and used it to replace the money she had stolen. The offending came to light when the customer realised money had been withdrawn. The bank refunded the money to the woman and carried out an investigation which revealed Howe had been responsible for taking it. Howe resigned from her job after being suspended. Howe, of Sandown Avenue, Crofton, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to theft.
Howe told a probation officer she took the money as she feared bankruptcy as her husband’s business an electrician was struggling.
James Littlehales, mitigating, said Howe’s husband’s business had now gone into liquidation and they were £25,000 in debt.
The barrister said: “She was not using the money for luxuries or holidays as we so often hear. It was simply to pay the debts and try to keep a roof over their children’s heads.”
Howe was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 300 hours unpaid work.
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