Denise Salter, 57, from Barnsley, had worked her way up at the Sheffield branch of the Yorkshire Building Society. But between 1993 and 2012, she stole regularly to pay off debts run up by her two sons and make a series of home improvements. Most of her victims were family and close friends.
Sentencing, His Honour Judge Watson said that Salter had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, but couldn't be given credit for good character as the crimes had continued for over 19 years, and some had been committed while she was employed as manager, and in a position of trust. She had also breached the trust of family and friends, he said.
Salter's activities were discovered late last year after a complaint from a customer - a long-standing friend of Salter's. Following an investigation by South Yorkshire Police, Salter was charged with 12 offences of theft, fraud and forgery. They include making false mortgage applications in the name of her husband and parents-in-law, as well as setting up false accounts in the names of friends.
"Our enquiries identified that Salter used a substantial amount of money to help her sons, who had accumulated debts, and not to fund an extravagant lifestyle. Things escalated from there, leading to the betrayal of trust of her friends and family."
The police say they won't be able to recover the money as Salter has no remaining assets - although she does have a pension fund, and the building society is taking legal steps to access this. It has already paid compensation to Salter's victims.
Yesterday, former Barclays Bank employee Julia Finney was jailed for stealing £127,000 from the bank to fund payday loans taken out to cover gambling debts.