A hapless Morrisons staffer, who defrauded the supermarket giant out of more than £42,000 by loading millions of points on to two bogus More loyalty cards, has been given a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to the offence, having earlier admitted he knew there was a high chance he would get caught.
Nathan King admitted carrying out the fraud within weeks of starting work in customer services at the supermarket’s head office in Bradford.
Under the More loyalty scheme, customers can accrue 5,000 points on their card for every £1,000 they spend; the points can then be exchanged for a £5 voucher.
However, Bradford Crown Court heard how King had set up two bogus loyalty accounts and loaded hundreds of thousands of points at a time on to them.
He told officers that his job involved dealing with complaints about missing loyalty points and he had started the fraud by loading just a few points at a time; however, it soon escalated.
King used the vouchers to buy Amazon gift cards and then bought electrical goods from the site to sell online. He used the money to pay off debts and treat his family.
The first account ran from November 23 last year until January 13. King obtained £15,685 worth of vouchers, equating to 15 million points. The second account was set up on January 14 and was closed on March 5 when the fraud was uncovered.
When King’s home was searched, officers seized TV sets, large fridge freezers and other electrical items. He immediately pleaded guilty at the first opportunity at Bradford & Keighley Magistrates Court.
King had previously told his probation officer he knew he stood a high risk of being caught because the fraud left “an online footprint”.
He was given a 16 month jail term, which was suspended for 18 months.
Morrisons is currently embroiled in one of the first UK class actions – and certainly one of the longest running – which was launched in 2015 by the supermarket’s staff following the theft of their data by a rogue employee.
In December 2017, the High Court ruled in the claimants’ favour; Morrisons then appealed but this was booted out in October 2018, but in April this year Morrisons won the right to have the case heard in the Supreme Court. A date has yet to be set for the hearing.
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