Halifax staff call in police to catch fraudster

Julian Mabbutt
Julian Mabbutt

A serial fraudster who went back to work for his Ghanaian gangmasters just a day after being released from prison has been jailed for scams totalling nearly £80,000.

Julian Mabbutt was instructed to try and steal £11,500 from the Corby branch of Halifax using a doctored passport, and got away with £2,500 on his first visit.

But he aroused suspicions when he returned the next day and tried to take out another £9,000, leading to his arrest.

At Northampton Crown Court, the father-of-two asked for seven further offences to be taken into account, taking the total figure of attempted fraud to £78,993.

The court heard Mabbutt has 82 previous convictions dating back to 1987, including further dishonesty offences, violence, drugs offences, shoplifting and burglary.

Mabbutt, 41, of Swale Drive, Northampton, admitted two charges of fraud by false representation, and one of possession of false identification documents. He was jailed for 20 months.

The court heard Mabbutt went into Halifax, in Corporation Street, Corby on February 9 last year, and withdrew £2,500 using a passport in someone else’s name, with his picture on it.

When he returned and tried to withdraw £9,000, the cashier became suspicious and asked him to produce a signature, which did not match the one on record.

Alexandra Bull, prosecuting, said: “He told officers on arrest that he was withdrawing the money for a job he was on. It was accepted by the police that there was a gang, and he was at the bottom of chain of command.

“He had become involved in gangs. Ghanaian males offered him work and if he refused, they beat him.

“This is aggravated by the identity fraud, it being professionally planned and carried out over a period of time.”

Henry James, mitigating, said: “He has an unenviable record. People who get involved with criminal gangs must reap the whirlwind.

“He is the frontman who is sent out to take the risks. He is not a man of good character but he has worked significantly through his life.”

Sentencing Mabbutt on Thursday, February 7, Recorder Geoffrey Kelly said: “You have two children who presumably look up to you, and it is incredible that you find yourself before this court so regularly.

“These are serious offences. You have a horrendous record and there is no doubt in my mind the custody threshold has been passed.”