‘Remorseless’ building society worker who stole more than £100,000 from vulnerable victims – including cancer sufferers – and splashed out on an Audi, designer fashion and a holiday to Dubai is jailed for four years

  • Nialah Afser, 37, has been sentenced to four years jail for stealing £105,000 
  • She used her job at the Yorkshire Building Society to rob vulnerable customers
  • Afser even exchanged chocolates, flowers, and thank you cards with her victims
  • She spent the stolen money on an Audi, trip to Dubai and luxury fashion

A ‘remorseless’ society worker stole nearly £105,000 from vulnerable victims including several cancer patients, new parents, the elderly and bereaved families.

Nialah Afser, 37, abused her position at Yorkshire Building Society to rob the accounts of extremely vulnerable people who ‘trusted her implicitly’.

Afser, who was sentenced to four years in jail, even exchanged chocolates, flowers, and thank you cards with her victims.

She hid the stolen cash in her accounts and splashed out on a hire-purchase Audi car, a holiday to Dubai, and luxury products from Prada, Chanel, Zara and other high street retailers.

Former Yorkshire Building Society worker Nialah Afser, 37, robbed £105,000 from the accounts of vulnerable people, such as cancer patients and the elderly who ‘trusted her’. She spent the money on high end fashion in places like Prada and Chanel (stock image pictured)

Afser, from Birmingham, spent three years and three months preying on weak customers at the city’s New Street branch before she was exposed in 2016.

When she was arrested, she blamed her crimes on her employers.

Birmingham Crown Court heard on Thursday how Afser was appointed as ‘deceased champion’ at the New Street branch after obtaining her job with the society using forged references.

Afser, described as ‘polite, charming and attentive’, would take ‘vulnerable’ customers into a side room.

After gaining their trust, she would unlawfully access their accounts, withdrawing various sums of cash after getting them to sign debit slips.

Graham Huston, prosecuting, told of one ‘fragile’ cancer sufferer who had gone into the branch in August 2015 for help as she was undergoing chemotherapy and ended up having £7,000 stolen from her.

Afser was sentenced to four years jail at Birmingham Crown Court heard on Thursday. The court heard that she even exchanged chocolates, flowers and thank you cards with her victims.  She also spent some the ill-gotten money on a hire-purchase Audi (stock image)

Mr Huston said: ‘It was also clear to the defendant that this customer was trying to put her affairs in order anticipating a bad outcome to her cancer and the defendant took advantage of this.’

Mr Huston said Afser stole £36,000 from one customer who had been made redundant after 23 years.

‘When the defendant was arrested and interviewed she said all the allegations had been fabricated by Yorkshire Building Society to get rid of her and she was to say in her interviews in relation to each of the complainants that they were liars,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Ben Williams, defending, said Afser, who previously pleaded guilty to 19 counts of fraud, ‘struggles to understand her own behaviour.’

Mr Williams said: ‘The defendant’s behaviour was appalling and would appal any right thinking person listening to the facts of the case.’. 

She also spent the money on a trip to Dubai (Dubai stock image). But after three years and three months of preying on weak customers at the Birmingham’s New Street branch Afser was exposed in 2016. When she was arrested, she blamed her crimes on her employers

Sentencing her to four years in jail, Judge Richard Bond said: ‘You really do not have remorse in this case and when I mean remorse, I mean feelings of remorse towards the victims.’

All victims of the fraud were fully refunded by Yorkshire Building Society with an additional £500 sum paid in compensation.

Judge Bond said: ‘I hope that the victims of this offences and the building society take heart in the fact that the court will impose long sentences.

‘This is no fault of the building society themselves.’ 

Detective Constable Gary Kinch, who investigated the case for the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), said: ‘This criminal abused her position of trust to prey on vulnerable customers and commit hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fraud.

‘This was a particularly callous crime and the judge has rightly handed down a custodial sentence of four years.

‘The DCPCU will continue to work closely with the banking industry to investigate cases of insider fraud and ensure those responsible are brought to justice.’

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