A “WALTER MITTY” bank manager who stole almost £90,000 from his branch and slept with a customer who complained about a bank charge has been jailed.
Gordon Irvine took cash from the back of an ATM in Dundee’s Lochee High Street before either spending it or paying it straight back into his own Santander account using self-service machines.
Irvine’s lawyer told Dundee Sheriff Court that he “still protests his innocence” despite his conviction. Sheriff Alistair Carmichael told him he had been been a “trusted” employee and that jail was the only option.
The father-of-two paid for trips to New York, Lanzarote and Rio de Janiero in cash - but he wasn’t able to take the trip to Brazil because he couldn’t get time off work.
He also paid for a £6,900 car, a year’s rent and council tax in cash. He installed a pool table and three 50 inch TVs in his flat, and bought his girlfriend Ugg boots costing £200.
Irvine also told a customer who complained about a £25 charge that she was “beautiful”. Initially he said he didn’t think he’d be able to do anything about it, but later that night he called her and said: “Check your bank account.”
If this was an embezzlement, it is the craziest embezzlement you will ever come acrossJim Laverty, solicitor
She found a £250 credit courtesy of Irvine - who then asked if he could come round to her home. The woman said yes, and they began a sexual relationship that night.
One former colleague who asked Irvine if he had “won the lottery” was told to check his account by the thief and subsequently found a £5,000 deposit there.
Irvine was caught after security staff emptying the ATM noticed huge cash discrepancies and launched a probe.
Irvine was frogmarched off the bank’s property when he was suspended in June 2013 and resigned the following month.
Investigators found £41,000 in his bank account - and his accounts were then 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.
“It is no coincidence that the losses end when he leaves.
“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 said: “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, 33, of Nicoll Road, Broxburn, West Lothian, denied a charge of embezzling £89,340 from the Santander branch in High Street, Lochee, Dundee, between November 1 2010 and June 30 2011.
A jury of nine men and six women took 90 minutes to find him guilty by majority.
Jim Laverty, defending, said: “Although he protests his innocence he accepts that the jury found him guilty.
“He did have accounts with Santander totalling around £36,000 and they have now disappeared - the bank will recoup that money and that mitigates the loss somewhat.
“He is a family man with a strong work ethic and a custodial sentence will have an impact on his family.”
Sheriff Carmichael jailed Irvine for 22 months.
He said: “The essence of this is 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.
“The gravity of this offence offence leads me to the conclusion that a custodial sentence is the only appropriate option.”