A BANK worker was sacked, lost her pension and has now been jailed after she admitted stealing £31,000 from the HBOS group.
She was suspended after an elderly man noticed thousands of pounds missing from his account.
The bank refunded all the money to customers and Barclay later admitted embezzlement at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
And she was jailed for 13 months after sheriff said plans to compensate the financial giant were “unrealistic”.
Fiscal depute Melanie Ward had earlier told the court how an elderly man had noticed his balance was lower than expected in September 2007.
He asked his daughter to investigate and it was confirmed he had less money than he should have.
Miss Ward said: “Several thousand pounds were missing from the account.
“A few days later the bank got in touch saying all the missing money had been put back into his account and he was advised to attend his branch and change his account numbers as his account had been compromised.”
The complaint triggered an investigation by the internal fraud department of HBOS and in December a formal interview was arranged with Barclay.
She admitted she had been responsible for several transactions made on the customer’s account, as well as another two transactions on another account.
Barclay was immediately suspended and police were called in.
In an interview with officers she again admitted drawing money from the two accounts and said she tried to cover her tracks by opening a false one.
Her solicitor, Mark Hutchison, said Barclay was a “hard working” woman who handled the family’s finances.
Mr Hutchison said: “It seems that she was the one who was looking after the family finances. Although she was not living an extravagant lifestyle there were financial difficulties.”
The result of this was “disastrous” for Barclay and her family, said Mr Hutchison, and she had been trying to find cash to pay back her former employers – who have also cancelled her pension policy.
He said: “She made various efforts to try to raise money but everywhere she has gone to attempt to get a loan to pay this back has been unsuccessful.”
Mr Hutchison added that his client’s parents had offered £2,000 towards repayment while Barclay could pay £150 per month from her new job.
But Sheriff Alistair Noble said the breach of trust involved meant Barclay, of Kinghorn, Fife, had to be jailed.
He said: “The difficulty is the seriousness of the offence and the question is whether they (the mitigating factors) overcome the seriousness.
“It obviously was a breach of trust.
“It seems to me there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.”
Sheriff Noble added that the plans to pay back the money seemed “unrealistic” adding that the bank may have to pursue other ways to recoup its loss.