Yorkshire fraudsters jailed after conning Lloyds Bank out of nearly £45,000

Two fraudsters have been put behind bars after they were involved in a phone scam which conned a bank out of nearly £45,000.

Sheffield Crown Court heard on November 10 how Dwight Watkinson, aged 30, of Norfolk Road, near Park Hill, and Dario Goncalves, 43, of Pye Bank Road, near Burngreave, committed the phone scam between 2013 and 2020 on the Lloyds banking group.

Andrew Bailey, prosecuting, said they created numerous bank accounts with various false names and phoned the Lloyds banking group hundreds of different times to complain about the process or poor service and received various amounts of compensation.

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There were over 1,600 calls and 807 of them resulted in individual compensation payouts ranging from £8 to £364 and during some of the calls Watkinson had been extremely abusive, according to Mr Bailey.

Dario Goncalves and Dwight Watkinson were both jailed after they admitted conspiring to commit fraud by false representation.

Mr Bailey said: “The defendants’ activity was noticed by the bank because of the sheer volume of calls and the use of the same or similar names and addresses and this resulted in an investigation by the bank.”

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Police discovered the defendants had mobile phones, paperwork and notes with bank details linking them to the offences with over 8,000 relevant calls found on two mobile phones connected to Goncalves and over 5,000 on three phones connected to Watkinson.

Goncalves and Watkinson, who have previous convictions, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud by false representation.

Helen Chapman, defending, said Watkinson has a record indicative of a drug-user and she described the fraud matter as not particularly sophisticated.

Ms Chapman added that following the murder of Watkinson’s brother his drug addiction deteriorated.

Nicola Hornby, defending, said Goncalves came to the UK from Portugal in 2004 but after he lost work through no fault of his own he developed mental health issues and started misusing drugs.

Judge Roger Thomas told the defendants: “In a sense the fraud you were perpetrating time and time, and time again was fairly simple and fairly simply executed.”

He added: “You dishonestly obtained about £45,000 in round figures in false compensation. Some of the claims were as little as £8. They ranged on occasion to sums of a good few hundred pounds.”

Judge Thomas sentenced both defendants to 27 months of custody each.