Man withdrew thousands from Dublin ATMs during Ulster Bank computer failure

CourtsBy Sunday World
Man withdrew thousands from Dublin ATMs during Ulster Bank computer failure

A man has avoided a jail sentence for taking advantage of an Ulster Bank computer failure which allowed customers to withdraw unlimited amounts from ATMs.

Babatunde Fagbule (46) visited several ATMs around Dublin and Meath on June 22, 2012 and made thousands of euro in withdrawals. By the end of the day the account, which belonged to his wife, was overdrawn by €8,315.

Fagbule, of Insebay, Laytown, Meath pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 13 counts of theft from Ulster Bank at various ATM location in Artane, Finglas and Bettystown on June 22, 2012.

The court heard that Fagbule had no right to withdraw more money than was in the account as it did not have an overdraft facility. However, because of a massive IT failure which affected all ATMs in the Royal Bank of Scotland group, including Ulster Bank, computers temporarily failed to reduce customer's balances when they withdrew money.

Fagbule used the money to refurbish his home and make purchases in Ikea.

His defence counsel David Staunton BL said that he stopped withdrawing the money "of his own accord" that day while other customers only stopped when the ATMs ran out.

Counsel said Fagbule, who used to work for Bank of New York in Ireland, had since repaid the money in full.

Prosecution counsel Lisa Dempsey BL said that the account was set up in Fagbule's wife's name and that it was used as a joint account. Ulster Bank shut it down after the thefts came to light and reported the issue to gardai.

Fagbule's wife was interviewed but said she knew nothing of the withdrawals. Her husband was arrested shortly afterwards and made full admissions.

He said he stopped withdrawing the money because he knew his wife couldn't have that much in her account. He said he was sorry and intended to repay it full.

Mr Staunton said it was a very crude and opportunistic crime and that his client had never been in trouble before.

He said Fagbule came to Ireland from Nigeria 15 years ago and worked for Bank of New York until 2010. He was currently studying financial services in Griffith College.

Judge Melanie Greally called it a serious offence but noted Fagbule's previous good character and his repayment of the money. She imposed an 18-month sentence suspended for two years.

Conor Gallagher