A CORRUPT banker along with five accomplices have been convicted of running a major fraud ring from Reading.

Thames Valley Police launched one of the largest ever investigations after the crooks used the £250million stolen form the bank to rent yachts, villas, prostitutes and live the high life.

The fraudsters would give each other gifts of ten of thousands of pounds as they travelled across the globe on their ill-goten gains.

Between 2002 and 2007 Lynden Scourfield worked as the senior director of the high-risks assets office of the Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) in Queen Street.

Reading Chronicle:

Three of the men enjoying a holiday in Barbados.

He worked with business at risk of defaulting on loans, one of his accomplices Mark Dobson was a director in a similar role at Bishopgate in London.

Scourfield should have approved his loans with a senior HBOS manager but instead gave money to businesses likely to default.

They used the money to hire 'turnaround' business consultancy firms.

Scourfield had more than 200  consultants to choose from but used ones run by his confidant David Mills.

Together they forced businesses to spiral into debt, taking out more loans as they failed to pay back the bank's original investment.

Mills ran Quayside Corporate Services, Keyside Developments, Sandstone Organisation, Knightingale Investments and Richard Paffard Consultants, many of which were co-directed by his wife Alison.

Michael Bancroft and Tony Cartwright worked for Quayside, the preferred consultancy firm.

Four of them were convicted today at Southwark Crown Court after a six-month trial.

Reading Chronicle:

Lyndeon Scourfield in Russia.

Collectively they stole more than £250million from the bank over five years.

Senior investigating officer, detective superintendent Nick John, said: “This has been the longest and most complex case in Thames Valley Police’s history.

“It was a triangle in which struggling companies would go to their bank for support and advice. The bank manager in charge of their accounts – Lynden Scourfield and Mark Dobson would bring in their associates as consultants.

“Instead of offering advice and support these consultants including David Mills and Michael Bancroft would then take millions out of these companies by various means to fund lavish lifestyles.

“These consultants would also offer kickbacks and gifts to the bankers, including Lynden Scourfield, as a reward for recommending them and for continuing to lend the bank’s money to these struggling companies.

“I hope that this case offers closure and justice to the victims of this organised crime group. These are normal hard-working people who have had their lives and had their livelihoods ruined by this."

Reading Chronicle:

David Mills poses for the camera in Russia.

During a six and a half year investigation police specialists found Lynden spent more than £31,000 on David Mills' American Express card on first class flights, a cruise and stays in an exclusive London hotel.

Dobson was given £30,000 by David Mills for recommending his consultancy firms.

Dobson and Scourfield were part of a holiday to Thailand, celebrating David Mills' fiftieth birthday. Scourfield was also part of a 40-strong trip to Barbados for Alison Mills' fortieth.

Six men and a woman were charged with a host of offences, including money laundering, corruption, and fraudulent trading, in 2013.

Operation Hornet say the force's Economic Crime Unit investigate the bank after a manager, newly appointed in 2006 asked to check Scourfield's previous loans.

David Mills, 60, of Todenham, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, was convicted of: conspiracy to corrupt, four counts of fraudulent trading, and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.

His wife, 51, of Todenham, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, was convicted of conspiracy to conceal criminal property and acquitted of fraudulent trading.

Michael Bancroft, 73, of Ilmington, Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, was convicted of conspiracy to corrupt, three counts of fraudulent trading, and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.

Lynden, also known as Gerard, Scourfield,  54, of Whitton Avenue West, Greenford, Middlesex, admitted one count of conspiracy to corrupt, four counts of fraudulent trading, and conspiracy to conceal criminal property on 12 August 2016.

Mark Dobson, 56, of Brayfield Terrace, London, was found convicted of conspiracy to corrupt, and conspiracy to conceal criminal property.

John Cartwright, also known as Tony, 72, of Knott Lane, Hyde, Cheshire, was convicted of fraudulent trading, and conspiracy to conceal criminal property. He was acquitted of fraudulent trading.

Jonathan Cohen, 57 of Dovecot Close, Pinner, Middlesex, was acquitted of one count of fraudulent trading, and one count of conspiracy to conceal criminal property.