Judge throws book at 'invincible' Barclays banker
12 August 2011
A Barclays banker who suffered from hypermania - leading him to believe that he was invincible, has been jailed for stealing money from his wealthy clients.
Avi Sarkar, 38, was convicted of draining more than £180,000 from the account of his client Lady Foxley-Norris whilst in his position at Barclays bank.
She wasn't the only client to have money taken without her consent - Sarkar also took tens of thousands of pounds from two other clients, which he gambled in the commodities market.
Despite Sarkar paying back some of the money he stole, the bank is estimated to have lost around £196,000 over a 14 month period.
Isleworth Crown Court heard that the banker wanted to pay back the cash he stole, but couldn't afford to after his losses and debts spiralled out of control.
Sarkar, of Ilford in East London, worked for the firm for seven years, eventually becoming a branch manager, in West London and winning the trust of his affluent clients. Judge Andrew Johnson told him: "You badly breached that trust."
He continued: "It's a tragedy to see someone like you in these circumstances.
"You're obviously a capable, intelligent person and I accept that you were suffering from mental problems at the time. But you were able to operate in, and hold down, a position of trust and you very badly abused that trust that the bank had in you and, of course, the customers had in you."
Sarkar suffered from hypermania, a condition which led him to take risks because he believed that he was invincible.
He took breaks in his career during 2007 and again in 2008, in order to work in trading, but returned to the Notting Hill branch of Barclays in late 2008.
Lady Foxley-Norris subsequently spotted inconsistencies in her account and contacted the bank who discovered that Sarkar had used passwords and pin security to access and gamble away his clients' money.
Sarker was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to three counts of fraud.