HBOS fraudsters jailed for £250m scam

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A group of financiers, including two former HBOS employees, have been jailed for almost 50 years after being convicted of corruption, fraudulent trading and money laundering.

After a five-month trial at Southwark Crown Court, former banker David Mills, HBOS employee Mark Dobson and three other finance professionals Michael Bancroft, Alison Mills, and Tony Cartwright were convicted on 30 January of various corruption offences.

Another former HBOS employee Lynden Scourfield pleaded guilty in August 2016.

The group orchestrated a scam that saw HBOS lose approximately £250m.

On 2 February at Southwark Crown Court, Scourfield was jailed for 11 years and three months while David Mills received a 15-year prison sentence.

Bancroft received 10 years in prison, Alison Mills received three and a half years, Dobson four and a half years and Cartwright three and a half years.

“Lives ruined”

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, Scourfield led a department at HBOS that dealt with businesses in financial difficulty.

Having been bribed by David Mills, he required selected customers of the bank to engage the services of Mills and his company Quayside Corporate Services to get further lending from HBOS.

Scourfield then advanced large sums of money to the businesses.

This enabled Mills and his associates – his wife Alison, as well as Bancroft, and Cartwright – to demand high fees for their consultancy services.

Many of the businesses affected by the group’s actions went into liquidation resulting in job losses, financial hardship, marital breakdowns, the loss of their homes and serious ill-health.

A police investigation uncovered evidence of huge incentives paid to Scourfield by Mills to reward his corruption, including cash payments and money transfers amounting to several hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Crown Prosecution Service specialist fraud division specialist prosecutor Stephen Rowland says: “Many people have had their lives ruined by the corrupt behaviour of Lynden Scourfield, David Mills and their associates. This was a complicated prosecution due to the volume and complexity of the financial transactions and the large sums of money involved. But in the end thanks to the work of prosecutors and investigators the jury were left in no doubt that the actions of these six defendants were criminal.”

Jonathan Cohen was acquitted of fraudulent trading and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.