Banker gets suspended sentence


A former bank employee who admitted fraud charges has had a nine month sentence suspended for two years.

Colum Lewis-Canning, of Moneyrannell Road, Limavady, pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud by abuse of position between January 2008 and February 2009.

Derry Crown Court heard that the former Ulster Bank accounts manager withdrew £100,000 from a clients account and invested it without his permission.

The 55-year-old initially took the money to invest in a property development company he had set up, called Smart Invest Limited.

However, the money was actually used to buy shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Lewis-Canning, who had both a personal and professional relationship with the injured party, did not have permission to withdraw the money or invest it.

The man had made one investmentment in Smart Invest but declined an invitation to invest further.

The court was told Lewis-Canning has repaid £48,000 of the money and the 55-year-old claimed he could repay the remaining amount in six months.

Suspending the sentence, Judge Philip Babington said Lewis-Canning ‘accepts he took advantage of his position and abused the injured party’s trust’.

He said the 55-year-old, who was ‘described as a banking star’, has lost his ‘reputation and status in both the banking sector and wider community’.

The judge also imposed a compensation for £52,550 to be paid to the injured party.