Sin Bin: “Walter Mitty” former Santander bank manager jailed for £90,000 embezzlement

SinBinA former Santander bank manager described as a “Walter Mitty” character has been jailed for almost two years for stealing almost £90,000 from the Dundee branch where he worked.

Gordon Irvine, 33, from West Lothian, had been found guilty by a jury at Dundee Sheriff Court of embezzling £89,340 from Santander over eight months in 2011-12.

He used the cash to fund a series of holidays and pay for luxury goods.

The court had heard how Irvine would take the cash from the back of an ATM at the Lochee High Street branch of Europe’s biggest bank before either spending it or paying it straight back into his own Santander account using self-service machines.

The court had also heard how he took money from the bank to put into the account of a customer who complained about a £25 bank charge, giving her £250 before sleeping with her later that night then embarking on a relationship.

The father-of-two paid for trips to New York, Lanzarote and Rio de Janiero in cash, but was unable to take the trip to Brazil because he could not get time off work.

He also paid for a £6900 car, a year’s rent and council tax in cash, fitted his flat out with a pool table and three 50in TVs and bought his girlfriend Ugg boots at £200 a time.

In one incident, Irvine told a customer who complained about a £25 charge that she was “beautiful” but said he did not think he would be able to do anything about it.

Later that night he phoned her and said: “Check your bank account.”

When she did she found a £250 credit courtesy of Irvine, who then asked if he could come round to her home.

The woman said yes and the pair began a sexual relationship.

Irvine was suspended in June 2013 and frogmarched off the bank’s property before resigning the following month.

Investigators found £41,000 in his bank account and his accounts were frozen.

Fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie told a jury at Dundee Sheriff Court: “He did not have some benefactor putting money in his account like some Charles Dickens Great Expectations story.

“He was living a Walter Mitty lifestyle. It is no coincidence the bank lost £89,000 during this time and £41,000 was found in Mr Irvine’s account.

“And it is no coincidence that when Mr Irvine was taken from his property and the keys to the branch taken from him the issues stopped.

“He was asked by colleagues if he had won the lottery. He had not won the lottery, it was coming from under their noses.”

Solicitor advocate Jim Laverty, defending, urged the jury to clear Irvine of the charge.

He conceded: “The actions of Mr Irvine were suspicious, I accept that. But not enough to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

“If this was an embezzlement it is the craziest embezzlement you will ever come across.”

Irvine, of Nicoll Road, Broxburn, West Lothian, denied a charge of embezzling £89,340 from the Santander branch at Lochee High Street, Dundee, between November 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011.

A jury of nine men and six women took one and a half hours to find him guilty by majority.

At Dundee Sheriff Court, Sheriff Alistair Carmichael jailed Irvine for 22 months.

He said: “You took money for your own purposes and breached the trust of the bank and their customers as you were trusted with the safety of that money.”