JOCKEYS and trainers from Lambourn are among those successfully targeted by a fraudster in a major bank scam, the Newbury Weekly News can confirm.
Around £250,000 has reportedly been removed from personal accounts, prompting the Newbury-based Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) to advise those in the horseracing industry to transfer their cash away from the major high street banking chains.
According to PJA chief executive Paul Struthers, the fraud has been ongoing since 2004 but recent events have prompted the association to issue a dire warning.
Mr Struthers said this week: “Yes, there have been people in the local area targeted – a few Lambourn jockeys and trainers.”
The PJA newsletter claims the main high street banks are “unwilling or unable” to prevent the activity, despite the culprit being repeatedly caught on CCTV going into branches and withdrawing huge sums from accounts of victims in the horseracing industry.
More than 30 jockeys and trainers have reportedly fallen prey to the scam in which the perpetrator is said to either present fake credentials or to simply pose as an individual using publicly available information, such as addresses and dates of birth, to illegally withdraw huge sums.
The PJA states: “What is most scandalous is that on almost every occasion the banks admit to not following their own procedures, handing significant sums of cash over – in some cases several thousands of pounds – despite signatures that don’t match those held by the bank and/or warning flags on the account not to issue cash withdrawals following previous frauds.”
The PJA goes on to advise: “In the light of the significant and ongoing losses... given the ineptitude of the major high street banks in preventing the fraud and their lack of interest in prosecuting it, the only way to prevent the frauds from continuing is to move their current account banking off the high street.”
The advice has been backed by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the sport’s governing body, it added.
Mr Struthers has asked to be kept informed of any new incidents by telephoning (01635) 44102.