Berkshire

Reading HBOS scam: Fraudster ordered to repay £727k

Michael Bancroft, who was convicted for his part in the fraud between 2003 and 2007 after a four-month trial at Southwark Crown Court. Image copyright PA
Image caption Michael Bancroft was convicted for his part in the fraud after a four-month trial

A fraudster who was jailed for his part in a multi-million pound scam has been ordered to repay more than £727,000.

Michael Bancroft, 76, was jailed in 2017 for 10 years over his part in the scam at HBOS's Reading division targeting small business customers.

The former businessman was convicted of bribery and fraudulent trading.

The court previously heard Bancroft, of Wyre Lane in Long Marston, Stratford-upon-Avon, arranged sex parties with money from the scam.

He was ordered to pay back £727,390.72 within three months or serve an additional six-year sentence.

Detectives said Bancroft gained £2,331,764 though criminal activity.

Property worth £295,500 and £128,582 in money were among his assets identified by the court, police said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The scam at HBOS's Reading division targeted small business customers

Bancroft was one of six people who were convicted over the scam and a court heard he siphoned off funds and arranged sex parties and foreign holidays to bribe former HBOS banker Lynden Scourfield to help with the scam.

Many of the businesses were either made bankrupt or sold for nominal amounts to companies often linked to Bancroft.

Det Ch Con Jason Hogg, from Thames Valley Police, said: "This group defrauded struggling businesses and gained significant sums of money, and lived a luxury lifestyle as a result of their fraudulent ways.

"It is vitally important that we use methods like this to ensure they are completely stripped of any remaining gains."

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