A young shopkeeper apparently has been put behind bars after hundreds of thousands of pounds was accidentally paid to his bank account and he chose to say nothing about it.
Sandeep Singh, age 34, was mistakenly credited an amount of £766,098 within a duration of two years when his bank details were confused with those of the Rubicon Casino located in Wolverhampton.
The banking error, by ATM company DC Payments, which went unnoticed for two years, occurred after Singh placed a cash machine in his shop.
Prosecutor Lynsey Knott said the defendant was operating an off-licence in Northampton when he approached DC Payments Ltd, to have one of their ATM units installed in his shop. The agreement between them was that the shop owner was responsible for loading the machine with the cash, which shall then be reimbursed by the company, along with a rental payment, in exchange for having one of their machines on his premises. She said, “There were multiple opportunities to notify [the company] DC Payments of the error, including during site visits from the company.”
The money supposedly meant for the casino was regularly wrongly refunded, in varying amounts, to Singh’s account for a period of two years.
With this seemingly unexpected but still massive windfall, the shopkeeper wasted no time buying a new house and he even transferred about £80,000 (probably to his relatives) in India.
The account was frozen when the error came to light, and upon inspection, over £260,000 had already been withdrawn, with half a million pounds still left in the account.
DC Payments tried to contact Singh, but he had already sold his shop. When they tried to phone him, he dismisses their call. Later on, he said he had tried to call them once or twice about the incident, and said he had spent £75,000 on a house.
Martin Liddiard, mitigating for Singh, said, “There’s still nearly half a million pounds in his UK account which is under a restraining order. His home has also been restrained. In all, a good £600,000 will be recoverable. He’s always said he’s happy for the money to go back. He hasn’t moved the majority of it, taken it or transferred it. It doesn’t read well (in court documents) that he tried once or twice phoning to bring it to their attention and then left it. He’s a relatively young man and was doing pretty well running a shop and he introducing a cash machine for his customers and this happened by way of error. One can see it was tempting to only make half-hearted attempts to repay it. He didn’t engineer it and he did nothing to stop it. Some people might have seen that money and may have taken it straight away and spent it. He now finds himself in the dock and looking at a very serious offence.”
Liddiard added, “Three days ago his mother died (abroad) and his bail conditions meant he couldn’t travel. He lives with his partner and her young daughter. He’s the one who pays the bills and looks after his extended family. The offence came to him rather than he to it and, whilst serious, it would be a shame if he had to spend time in custody and break that work cycle. He no longer has a shop and is working in engineering and IT. The lions share, if not all of it is going to go back.”
Judge Nicholas Dean QC said, “It’s clear to me you’ve been a hardworking man and done the best by your family. But you’ve left yourself and them down. You must have realized quite quickly payments were being made that ought not to have been. The efforts you made to contact them were desultory; it would be very simple to inform a company of this type of error. Even if the money from India was returned there’s still a not inconsiderable shortfall.”
Liddiard responded, “We will made efforts to ensure it does come back.”
After he admitted to the theft that transpired between October 2014 and October 2016, he was sentenced to one year in jail.
A proceeds of crime hearing aimed on recovering the money is due this December.