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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

NRI bank clerk jailed for fraud in UK

Prasun Sonwalkar Prasun Sonwalka, PTI  London, June 13, 2012
First Published: 12:00 IST(13/6/2012) | Last Updated: 12:14 IST(13/6/2012)

An Indian-origin clerk, who worked for a UK branch of ICICI, stole 80,000 pounds from customers to pay his rent and furnish his house, has been jailed for a year.

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Harprit Shari, 27, was working in ICICI's Coventry branch when the illegal transfer of money occurred.

He used his access to sensitive computer systems to transfer huge sums after falling behind with his household bills, the Old Bailey was told on Friday.

Shari also cheated an elderly woman of 5,000 pounds after realising she had the same name as his wife.

The fraud took place in January and February; 2011.Shari had earlier admitted three counts of fraud by abuse of position.

Court recorder Nigel Peters told Shari that he had committed the scam "openly and willfully", and added- "You were put into a position of trust by the bank and you abused it".

The courts rightfully have to take a serious view in respect of anyone who commits offence of this kind, "for otherwise there would be no deterrent to people in your position".

The bank's counter-fraud department began investigating on February 7 last year after being told that one of its customers, a Birmingham-based student, had received a suspicious 50,000 pounds deposit from an ICICI account.

It later transpired that transfer had been authorised by Shari, and further transactions were blocked after the original account-holder said she had not tried to move any money.

Investigators then uncovered another dodgy transaction he had carried out just six days earlier, in which 25,000 pounds were moved from an ICICI account to NatWest bank.

By this time, the money had already been transferred to HBOS account in his own name.

On the day the anti-fraud inquiry began, Shari met with 70-year-old Baljit Kaur, who wanted to deposit a cheque of 5,000 pounds in an account she had just opened. Instead, he paid the money to his wife of the same name.

Mukhtiar Ubhi, defending lawyer, said: "He has urged me to reinforce to the court that he will never commit any type of offence again".

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