A former KU criminal law student’s career has been left in tatters after she participated in a £750,000 fraud.
Faith Whitter, 22, helped fraudsters steal the money between August and September 2016 by changing the password of a customer’s account at Metro Bank in Edgware, north London, where she worked as a cashier.
She was spared jail after she pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud at Inner London Crown Court.
The Recorder Andrew Hurst sentenced Whitter to 18 months in prison, which was suspended for two years. “It is a tragedy of the case that, as a consequence, a very promising career you had ahead of you has now got a severe question mark over it,” said Hurst.
Whitter, from Mill Hill, Barnet, also received 200 hours of community service, a £640 court fee charge and a 7pm to 5am curfew for two months.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority, with whom new lawyers must register, states in its handbook that “unless there are exceptional circumstances, we will refuse an application if you have been convicted by a court of a criminal offence”.
This includes custodial or suspended sentences and convictions involving dishonesty, fraud, perjury and bribery.
“You opened the back door of the bank to the fraudsters. Without you it couldn’t have happened,” said Hurst.
Whitter’s barrister, Leila Gaskin, said: “She is kind, generous, bright, and despite coming through a fairly difficult childhood she was making the most of her life.”
The fraudsters “took advantage of her loyalty and trust,” Gaskin added.
Prosecutor Robert Meikle said the bank had noticed Munir Hussain’s account being drained and stopped most of the money transfers.
A Metro Bank spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a former colleague has been charged with Fraud.
“At Metro Bank, we have robust fraud prevention measures in place, including monitoring colleague activity, and we investigate suspicious transactions immediately. In addition, all of our colleagues go through regular training on how to spot and report fraud, in this instance, our comprehensive monitoring meant the attempt was quickly identified and acted on.”
The court was told that Whitter had no idea how much money would be stolen and immediately confessed when arrested by police.
Whitter was spared jail despite most people in her situation going to prison.
Hurst said to Whitter that “society’s best interests are not served by you going to prison.”
A KU spokesperson confirmed: “The University’s records show that an individual by this name joined Kingston University in September 2014 but left the University in June 2016.”
Whitter left Kingston University in 2016 because of a serious car accident, but Gaskin said that she was planning to return to her studies.
According to University regulations, students applying to courses leading to certain professions or occupations, including law, must disclose all convictions, regardless of relevance.
The university will then carry out an assessment to calculate the risk.
If the risk assessment concludes that the conviction is medium or high risk, such as any unspent convictions, the application will be withdrawn.
Whitter, who set up her own beauty business after leaving KU, refused to comment unless paid.