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Fraudsters spent £90k on luxury lifestyles after Santander insider leaked customer details

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·3-min read
Abbas passed Santander customer details on for Memon and Hamilton-Thomas to splurge on expensive goods. (Reach)
Abbas passed Santander customer details on for Memon and Hamilton-Thomas to splurge on expensive goods. (Reach)

An insider gave a bank's customer details to two men whose £90,000 scam saw them fraudulently buy a jet ski, luxury watches and expensive jewellery.

Bilal Abbas would use his job at Santander to pass on account information to Umair Memon, who bought items and had Jordan Hamilton-Thomas help pick them up.

Companies in Newcastle, Gateshead and other parts of the country were targeted as the fraudsters used customers' card details to live "the high life", leaving businesses out of pocket and the customers stressed.

The three, who may have worked with others, admitted conspiracy to defraud between 2017 and 2019 and were jailed.

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Prosecutor Nick Lane told Newcastle Crown Court that after Memon was given the necessary information by Abbas, he would purchase goods including the jet ski and then collect them or get Hamilton-Thomas to do so.

Pictures recovered from the men's phones showed them enjoying holidays and showing off jewellery they fraudulently bought through the scam, the court heard.

The fraudsters spent thousands on luxury items. (Reach)
The fraudsters spent thousands on luxury items. (Reach)
Hamilton-Thomas and Memon have been jailed. (Reach)
Hamilton-Thomas and Memon have been jailed. (Reach)

At the cheaper end of the items they bought was a wet-look catsuit from Lovehoney.

Their activity affected both card holders and businesses. A Newcastle-based artificial grass firm had to rely on loans from friends and family as a result of this and other frauds on it, Lane said.

Sentencing the men, recorder David Gordon said the affected businesses suffered "not mere inconvenience but considerable upset" while the bank card customers were distressed.

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The trio's fraud was stopped when the David Summerfield jewellery shop at the Metrocentre in Gateshead raised the alarm after Hamilton-Thomas made three visits.

When he arrived to pick up a £6,000 watch a police officer was waiting. Hamilton-Thomas pushed the officer over and then fled, but CCTV showed he arrived with Memon, who was still in the shopping centre.

Bilal Abbas was convicted of his part in a potential £90,000 fraud. (Reach)
Bilal Abbas was convicted of his part in a potential £90,000 fraud. (Reach)

Memon was then arrested by the officer.

Abbas, 30, of Keighley, West Yorkshire, and Memon, 28, of Shipley, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud on the basis of the loss or potential loss of £90,160.

Memon also admitted a separate charge of dangerous driving and was jailed for two years and three months, and received a 12-month driving ban after release.

Abbas, who had worked at Santander for about 10 years and was said to be in a position of trust, was given two years behind bars.

Hamilton-Thomas, 32, of Leeds, admitted a loss of £83,481 and assault with intent to resist arrest. He was jailed for two years and two months.

Hamilton-Thomas was jailed for more than two years. (Reach)
Hamilton-Thomas was jailed for more than two years, while Memon was also banned from driving. (Reach)

Recorder Gordon told the men: "This was a high-value enterprise, carried out methodically. You targeted high value goods."

Ian Hudson, defending Abbas, said his tenure at Santander was unblemished before the crime and he is of previous good character, while Jessica Heggie, for Memon, said he was in substantial debt at the time.

Safter Salam, for Hamilton-Thomas, said he had financial difficulties.

Detective Constable Patrick Naughten said after the case: "“It became clear they had been living the high life at the expense of their victims and showed no remorse for those businesses they had left out of pocket.

“I am delighted that they are now behind bars and will face the consequences of their actions."

A Santander spokesperson said: "Santander actively assisted the police with their investigation and we are pleased to see the perpetrators brought to justice."

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