Woman bank manager 'stole $1,000,000 by regularly walking out with wads of $25,000 in cash after locking up'
Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:47 AM on 07th January 2010
A crooked bank manager stole almost $1million in a ‘sustained, sophisticated and calculated course of deception’, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.
Ania Wadsworth, 28, was a trusted boss at a branch of Lloyds TSB for five years but was repeatedly helping herself to $25,000 bundles of notes ready for cash machines.
She manipulated in-house bank accounts to hide her deceit from bosses and auditors, it was said.
Wadsworth, who started out as a team leader but was swiftly promoted to a branch operations manager, is accused of stealing $921,716 between 2002 and 2007.
When the scam was uncovered in March 2007 Wadsworth admitted taking the majority of the money.
However, she said she did it because her boyfriend Keith Preddie, 30, who was ‘from the wrong side of the tracks’, threat- ened and intimidated her to help pay off his spiraling drug debts.
He is accused of banking more than $145,000 of the stolen cash between 2003 and 2005.
Wadsworth was promoted rapidly at the Lloyds TSB branch in Golders Green, north London, above
Prosecutor Mark Paltenghi said the case did not involve a complicated paper trail and electronic transfers but the ‘taking of physical cash and removing it from the premises’.
Wadsworth and Preddie began their relationship 12 years ago, while she was still a 16-year-old schoolgirl and he was 18.
She came from a normal background but unemployed Preddie struggled with drug addiction and debt and was living in a crack house, spending $500 a day on his habit.
They split after eight years together, during which time Preddie had served a prison sentence.
Wadsworth started work at the Golders Green branch in North London in 2000 and within a year was appointed operations manager, with responsibilities for loading cash machines.
Mr Paltenghi said: ‘By all accounts, she was a highly respected member of staff. She was a woman who was trusted by everybody with whom she worked. Sadly, that trust was misplaced.’
She started stealing small amounts, but over time it ‘increased considerably’. Mr Paltenghi said the money for cashpoints would be in bundles of $25,000.
‘She was usually the last person to leave the bank and during the day she would simply leave aside a bundle of cash and take it away with her when she locked up,’ he added.
'She said she had done this a number of times.’
Wadsworth was to tell police she took the cash home to Preddie, who created a constant fear that ‘he was able to kill her’.
The prosecutor added: ‘On several occasions she took more than one bundle with her for him.
‘She would cover up what she had done by debiting foreign accounts.
‘When she was in control of the cashpoints she was the person to load it and it was her responsibility to raise any discrepancies.’
Mr Paltenghi added: ‘How was Miss Wadsworth able to get away with it for so long? Trust, opportunity and a sophisticated cover-up.’
He said expert witnesses would later explain how the cover-up worked. Jurors were told that Wadsworth admitted stealing around $870,000 but claimed Preddie had forced her into doing it.
She also said she gave him her wages, which ranged between $1,000 and $1,800 a month, and was forced to take out three loans.
Wadsworth claimed ‘she was scared he would come after her and her family and she lived a life of fear’, said the prosecutor.
‘She said she wanted to get out of the relationship but couldn’t.’
But Mr Paltenghi said there was evidence Wadsworth had benefited from the scam, keeping her personal account overdrawn to prevent unwanted attention.
Wadsworth, of Archway, North London, denies theft.
Preddie, of Romford, Essex, denies money laundering. He denies that he forced Wadsworth to steal or that he knew the money was stolen.
The trial continues.
LINK TO PHOTO OF WADSWORTH
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1241059/Bank-manager-stole-1m-years-walking-wads-cash-locking-up.html#ixzz0btaPyROT
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