Bank cheat’s appeal over money fails

Lawrence Siaw who must pay back �30k to the authorities.
Lawrence Siaw who must pay back �30k to the authorities.

A BANK fraudster serving an extra prison sentence after failing to pay off his £29,000 confiscation bill today failed in an appeal against the sum - even though he has no money.

Lawrence Siaw, aged 37, of Sandstone Road, Wincobank, Sheffield, was originally jailed for four years in April 2008 at Sheffield Crown Court after admitting two fraud plots.

He was also ordered to hand over the £29,000 sum, the amount of assets deemed to be realisable out of the £341,000 he was said to have made from crime.

But he failed to pay up, claiming he did not have the cash, and was sentenced to a further nine months behind bars in March in default of the payment.

He challenged the confiscation order at the Court of Appeal, where his lawyers claimed he has never had the chance to put his case in front of a judge.

Siaw had been prosecuted for two bank frauds in 2004-05, in which corrupt bank employees helped fraudsters to obtain the banking details of innocent customers.

Thousands of pounds were taken from the victims’ accounts and filtered through accounts held by other people, who allowed themselves to be used as conduits for the cash.

His lawyers complained the confiscation hearing in March 2009 had been started before Siaw arrived, so he was unable put his case across to the judge.

It was a case where the offender simply did not have the money which he was said to have, and there was no way he could pay the confiscation bill, Lord Justice Jackson, Mr Justice Cooke and Judge John Bevan QC were told.

Applying for an adjournment, lawyers argued extra time was needed so further investigation could take place and the correct documents be placed before the Appeal Court.

But, instead, Judge Bevan rejected the case outright, leaving Siaw in prison and still facing the five-figure order when he is released later this year.

“He didn’t give evidence at the time when he was present, he didn’t request an adjournment, and he has not raised it before today,” the judge said.

The documents which had been put before the court were not enough to justify allowing the case to progress any further, he concluded, rejecting Siaw’s application.