A PROMISING banker has been jailed after he stole £50,000 to help pay off debt and relieve his depression.
Greig Smith, 29, set up fake bank accounts and cleaned out their overdrafts before pocketing the cash.
The Bank of Scotland assistant manager was sacked after an internal investigation revealed the fraud.
He claims he had fallen into debt after leaving university and spending money on family friends helped to relieve his depression.
But he was jailed for two years for what the sheriff sentencing him described as “substantial breach of trust”.
Fiscal depute John Kirk had earlier told the court how Smith had been working as an assistant manager at the Whitehouse Road branch of Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Mr Kirk said: “He opened various bank accounts taking details of existing accounts and mixing up the details to create fictitious accounts.
“He then took advantage of a scheme to create overdrafts and having done that he made off with the sum liabled in the indictment.”
But the group’s auditors, based in Rosyth, Fife, cottoned on to the scam and launched an investigation into Smith’s dealings.
Mr Kirk said: “As part of a routine audit the HBOS team became aware that Smith’s computer access code was being used more often that would be expected.
“He was dismissed and the matter was reported to police. In an interview with police officer he accepted what he had done.”
Mr Kirk added: “The bank itself was the loser here as the money came from fictitious accounts.”
Smith’s solicitor, Colm Dempsey, said his client had ruined a “promising” eight-year career with the banking group.
Mr Dempsey said: “He had a promising career there but unfortunately found himself in some debt which was exasperated by depression which had suffered from from an early age.”
Smith’s outgoings, Mr Dempsey said, had “greatly exceeded” his income during the period of the fraud but he insisted his client had not spent the money on himself.
Mr Dempsey said: “He did not lavish the money on himself – he did not lead an extravagant lifestyle. He lavished the money on friends and family.”
This, Mr Dempsey said, had provided Smith with temporary relief from his depressive condition.
Mr Dempsey added that Smith had offered to pay back the cash – which was not from customer accounts – but had heard nothing back from HBOS.
Sheriff John Horsburgh QC said only a custodial sentence would be appropriate given Smith position at the bank.
He said: “This of course is a very serious offence and involves a substantial breach of trust on your part.”
Sheriff Horsburgh jailed Smith, of Cockburnspath, East Lothian, for two years.