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Pay back the profits or face jail, HBOS scammers warned

Member: Roger Isaacs

Fraudsters jailed for a total of more than 18 years in the Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) fraud scandal have been told to repay the profits they made or face extra time in jail.

Michael Bancroft has been ordered to pay back more than £727,000 after being jailed for 10 years in January 2017 following convictions for bribery and fraudulent trading.

At the trial, a forensic investigation estimated he had acquired £2,331,764.34 through criminal activity.

However, the Courts have since ordered him to pay back £727,390.72 or serve an additional six-year sentence.

The demand for Bancroft to return his assets follows on from confiscation orders against two other members of the criminal outfit, David and Alison Mills, who have been ordered to pay back £10 million from the assets they acquired.

These include properties located across Europe, holidays to Thailand and Barbados, trips to Ascot, and a 100-foot long yacht based in the Mediterranean worth £2 million.

HBOS banker, Lyndon Scourfield, who was jailed for 11 years as part of the same case is yet to face a confiscation order.

Scourfield forced struggling clients to use the services of David Mills while authorising huge loans to high-risk customers, regardless of their ability to repay them.

In turn, Mills charged exorbitant ‘consultancy’ fees and expenses, while running the businesses into the ground.

They were convicted after a six-year investigation led by Thames Valley Police, who were supported by specialist financial investigators from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).

If the sums are not paid back within three months of the orders being made, they will each face additional prison terms.

Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “This case demonstrates the significance of confiscation proceedings in which the burden of proof falls on the defendants to show that they did not benefit from their crimes and that, if they did, they no longer have any available assets.

“Clearly, in the case, the court was convinced that those convicted can afford to pay substantial amounts. Often the court will infer that hidden assets exist and are available to be repaid even if their whereabouts are unknown.”

Author: Roger Isaacs
20 September 2019