Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Bank manager 'stole almost 1m from Lloyds'

A sign outside a branch of Lloyds TSB
It was alleged Ms Wadsworth planned a "sophisticated and calculated" fraud

The "trusted" manager of a bank in north London stole nearly £1m from her branch during a five-year deception, the Old Bailey has heard.

Ania Wadsworth, 28, "manipulated" accounts at Lloyds TSB in Golders Green to cover her tracks, it was alleged.

She admits taking £870,000 but said it was under duress from her boyfriend.

She has been charged with stealing £921,717 between 2002 and 2007, but insisted she did not take money during the whole of this five-year period.

She was a woman who was trusted by everybody with whom she worked
Mark Paltenghi, prosecuting

Miss Wadsworth, from Waterloo Road in Archway, north London, often left work with bundles of notes totalling £25,000, prosecution lawyer Mark Paltenghi claimed.

She was in charge of balancing the books at the branch and so could move money between different accounts whenever there was an audit, he added.

She hid money which was intended for cash machines and was able to retrieve it because she was the last person to leave the office each evening, Mr Paltenghi said.

Miss Wadsworth told police she had not benefited from the thefts and had passed the money to her boyfriend, Keith Preddie.

'Frank confession'

Mr Preddie, who is 30 and lives in Lynwood Drive in Romford, Essex, denies laundering £145,370 of the stolen cash by putting it into his bank accounts between 2003 and 2005.

He denies forcing her to steal or knowing the money was stolen.

Miss Wadsworth had been "a highly-respected member of staff" and operational manager of the branch since 2001, Mr Paltenghi said, and had made a "full and frank confession" when arrested.

"She was a woman who was trusted by everybody with whom she worked. Sadly, that trust was misplaced."

He said her actions would have needed to be "sophisticated and calculated" to have been sustained for such a long time.

The trial continues.



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