AN INSURANCE claims worker made more than £20,000 of bogus payments from closed insurance claim accounts into his own bank account to help with his debt problem.

Jamie Roberts, 22, of Hoskins Street, Newport, appeared at Newport Crown Court where he was sentenced to 32 weeks imprisonment after pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of a position of trust.

The court heard Roberts was working for the Halifax Bank of Scotland which is part of the Lloyds TSB banking group.

He was employed at Newport offices as a claims advisor and his role saw him pay out to people who had legitimate claims.

But prosecutor John Warren said that between December 19 last year and February 20 this year, Roberts made 13 bogus claims totalling £20,200 which he paid electronically into his own bank account.

The payments were made from three insurance claim accounts which had been closed by the bank seven to 11 months earlier but which Roberts was able to reopen.

The offence came to light when a fraud risk coordinator became aware of a number of payments being made fromthe three closed accounts and investigated.

Roberts was suspended from his job and the matter was reported to the police.

He admitted the fraud and said he was struggling financially with debts of £9,000 and saw this as an “easy way out”.

When asked why he had transferred more money to his account than needed to cover his debt, he said it was to prevent himself from being in the same situation again.

Representing Roberts, Nigel Fryer said the defendant, who has no previous convictions, had shown “deep remorse” and that he had “very much enjoyed”

working in the job.

He said: “He never sought to minimise or hide his actions.”

Mr Fryer said £7,500 had already been reclaimed by the bank.

A Proceeds of Crime Act order will take place at a later date.

Judge Daniel Williams said: “This was a breach of trust. You did not stop until you were caught.”