JUST IN: Clock Tower HSBC bank clerk stole £448k from 85-year-old customer

A bank clerk working at the HSBC in Gallowtree Gate, Leicester, stole more than £448,000 from the account of an 85-year-old customer. Hamzah Issak was paid £5,000 up front to log into the man’s account to change his contact details before sending cash to other people, never to be seen again.

When his bosses demanded to know why he had made the transaction he claimed the 85-year-old account holder had been into the branch to ask for all the actions to be taken. An investigation was launched and Issak resigned and got a job with British Gas, later supplementing his income by selling cocaine.

Issak was arrested while driving in Leicester after police smelled cannabis smoke coming from his BMW. He was searched and found to have £500 worth of cocaine, £1,600 in cash, two mobile phones with details of calls to clients and other items including dealer bags, a cutting agent and electronic scales.

The officers then searched his home address and found a broken taser – an illegal weapon that may have been able to give someone a serious electric shock if it had been got working. He claimed he only sold the drugs to friends and family and tried to persuade police most of the money was a present from a family member but he later abandoned that version of events.

Issak, 28, of Apollo Court, in the Highfields area of Leicester, was later arrested again for the bank fraud matter. He had been a customer service manager at the branch near the Clock Tower when the bank offences were committed in 2017.

The elderly victim had his account at a London branch of HSBC but Issak was able to get access to anyone’s account at the bank, Leicester Crown Court heard on Friday. The court heard the 85-year-old man was given the full sum back, leaving HSBC out of pocket.

But Judge Keith Raynor, sentencing Issak, said it would have been a stressful time for the victim – who has since died – to be told that nearly half a million pounds had been stolen from his account by an employee of the bank he had entrusted his money with.

Michael Anning, representing Issak, said: “He had been using cannabis for some time. In June 2017 his grandfather passed away and he began to take cocaine. He was able to hold down a job but it did make him vulnerable – physically and emotionally.

“He allowed himself to be the inside man. He has returned to that law-abiding manifestation of himself.

“There is good in this man, despite the offences he has committed.”

Judge Raynor told Issak: “Some people plainly put pressure on you. You knew exactly what you were doing.

“It would have been very stressful [for the victim] for the bank to contact him and say that due to the actions of an employee of the bank nearly half a million pounds has been taken from your account.”

Issak, who had pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply, three computer misuse offences and fraud by abuse of position, was jailed for five years and eight months.

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Constable Jo Lockton, who investigated the fraud, said: “Issak completely abused his position as a trusted employee of the bank using his access to view and change significant personal details of innocent customers for his own financial gain. Thankfully the bank carried out a thorough investigation and acted quickly.

“They were able to trace the accounts that he had accessed and prove money had been fraudulently taken which only strengthened our case against him. The vast amount of evidence gained left Issak with little choice but to the plead guilty to the offences he committed.”