Alert Leamington staff catch pensioner obtaining thousands of pounds from building society accounts using forged documents

She has been given a suspended prison sentence

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 9:51 am

Pensioner who obtained thousands of pounds from building society accounts using forged documents was caught after alert staff at a Leamington

A pensioner who obtained thousands of pounds from building society accounts using forged documents was caught after alert staff at a Leamington branch became suspicious.

And at Warwick Crown Court, Lyn Daniels pleaded guilty to a total of nine charges of fraud.

Lyn Daniels pleaded guilty to a total of nine charges of fraud

Daniels (70) of Warren Close, Edmonton, North London, was sentenced to 16 months in prison suspended for two years, with a rehabilitation activity for 30 days.

Prosecutor Catherine Ravenscroft said all the offences were committed by Daniels assuming the identity of people who had accounts with the Nationwide Building Society.

She would attend branches in the Midlands and the south of the country using counterfeit identity documents to withdraw money from the various accounts.

But Daniels came unstuck when she turned up at the Nationwide branch in Leamington in March 2018 and tried to withdraw £17,500 from an account in the name of Susan Harding.

Staff at the branch were rightly suspicious and kept her there while the police were contacted, and when Daniels was arrested, counterfeit documents were seized from her.

When she was interviewed she mostly gave ‘no comment’ replies, but did say that she had not got all the money she had tried to obtain.

She was released under investigation, but continued to offend, said Miss Ravenscroft.

And the final charge related to her posing as Sharon Gillen to obtain £500 from an account at a Nationwide branch in Witney, Oxfordshire, in April 2018.

The police investigation revealed that earlier that year Daniels had struck at Nationwide branches in Surrey, Essex, Kent, Sussex, Middlesex and Cambridgeshire to obtain amounts ranging from £500 to £3,000.

Miss Ravenscroft said Daniels, who had obtained a total of £8,620 from the frauds, but had attempted to obtain a total of around £26,500, had numerous previous convictions for dishonesty and drug offences.

And in March 2019 she had been given a 33-week suspended sentence for similar frauds at branches of Barclays bank, which Sarah Fairburn, defending, said had been part of the same spate of offending.

Miss Fairburn said that at the time Daniels was addicted to class A drugs, as she had been on-and-off since 1992, and she took part in the offending as a way to repay a drug debt.

“It had a degree of sophistication and planning, but her role was being handed the counterfeit documents and being driven to the building societies by those she owed money to and going in.

“She would get 10 per cent and hand 90 per cent to those who had ferried her around. She was essentially a mule. She turned a blind eye and did not ask any questions.

“She is vulnerable, she owed a debt and threats were made to the extent that she thought this was the best option.

“She is 70 years of age, she walks with a stick and has somewhat limited mobility. She is a vulnerable lady in terms of her health.

“She is receiving support in the community for her drug use. She is on a Methadone script, and does occasionally use heroin, two or three times a month, as a form of pain relief. That is a significant improvement on where she was in 2018.

“She’s very concerned about receiving an immediate sentence, and fears she would die in prison,” Miss Fairburn added.

Sentencing Daniels, Recorder Balraj Bhatia QC told her: “I accept you have had significant medical issues which have led you to use heroin and other drugs to ease your pain or make life a little more bearable.

“I am impressed that since 2018 you have responded well to supervision.

“Had all of these offences been dealt with together at the appropriate time, I’m of the opinion that a suspended sentence would have been the appropriate sentence, given the circumstances and your personal mitigation.

"But you have now used up your chances. If you commit another offence during the next two years, you know what the sentence will be and, as you say, you may die in prison.”