Royal Bank manager stole £24,000 with colleague's password

A BANK manager left a colleague facing the sack after posing as him to carry out a £24,000 fraud.

Alan Vassie, 36, pocketed the equivalent of almost 300-a-day during the three-month scam. He secretly used the password of Royal Bank of Scotland employee Seamus Ruddy to access a customer's mortgage account and steal funds.

The bank believed Mr Ruddy was responsible until it eventually became clear Vassie was the culprit.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard yesterday how Vassie became desperate after running up gambling debts that now total 60,000.

He faces jail after admitting taking 24,181 between April and July 2005.

Vassie, of Thornliebank, was a collections manager at the RBS Mortgage Centre, in the city, having been employed with the bank since 1990.

In early 2005, the branch developed problems with its computer system.

Mark Allan, prosecuting, said some workers were finding their private passwords to access the system were not working. Staff who had no difficulties, believed to include Mr Ruddy, revealed their own identification to help colleagues.

On 7 April 2005, Vassie used Mr Ruddy's details to access a customer's mortgage account that was lying dormant. He tampered with the account, allowing him to make a 2,755 transfer into his wife's bank account.

He completed three other similar transactions - one for 12,000 - into his own account.

The court heard that the transactions soon attracted the attention of RBS investigators. Fiscal Mr Allan said: "Their attention was drawn to Mr Ruddy due to his ID having repeatedly been used. He was under suspicion by the bank. His position was that he had divulged his password previously to others, which included Vassie."

Inquiries continued and Mr Ruddy was only cleared when it was found his password had been used on a day when he was off work.

Father-of-one Vassie, now a customer-services adviser with ScottishPower, was questioned and confessed. He told his bosses: "I deeply, deeply regret it. I am very sorry that I put anyone through anything."

The court heard Vassie had turned to crime after gambling away a large endowment policy he was to share with his wife from whom he had separated.

Sarah McKinnon, defending, said the theft was "amateurish in its execution".

The lawyer added: "He has incurred debts of some 60,000 due to the gambling. He is keen to put across to the court that he realises that this was a serious breach of trust."

Sheriff Kenneth Mitchell deferred sentencing until next month for reports.

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