Advisor took money after wages fell

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

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A building society mortgage advisor stole thousands of pounds from his workplace.

Andrew McNaughton, who worked for the Blackpool branch of the Nationwide Building Society, took £5,000 customers had paid in fees.

The father-of-four was said to have committed the offence because he was desperate to provide for his family and his wages had fallen.

McNaughton, 39, of Neville Avenue, Cleveleys, pleaded guilty to theft from his employer between May 2012 and October last year.

Pam Smith, prosecuting, said McNaughton started work at the Nationwide in 1999 and for a number of years had been a mortgage advisor. His job was to arrange new mortgages, remortgages and loans, some of which would require the customer to pay a fee.

McNaughton asked some customers to pay the fees in cash and to cover the losses he would used then use the details of other customers’ cards.

On September 8 last year a woman customer contacted the building society and queried why her house valuation had not taken place. Investigations revealed her card details had been used to pay for another person’s fee.

In October, McNaughton was suspended from work. When interviewed he admitted taking the money because he had financial problems. The Nationwide had repaid any money owing to customers.

Kathryn Jamieson-Sinclair, defending, said her client, who had no previous convictions, had not been driven to commit crime by greed, but by desperation.

McNaughton had received bonuses, but because of the financial times he was being paid about one third less than he had received in previous years.

McNaughton had now given the Nationwide permission to take the money he owed out of his pension pot.

Blackpool magistrates decided they had insufficient powers to deal with the case and bailed McNaughton to appear for sentence by a judge at Preston Crown Court on August 26.