A BUILDING society adviser stole more than £18,000 from his customers to pay off his own debts, a court has heard.
Neil Goodman, 39, was working as a senior customer consultant at Principality Building Society in Swansea when he committed the three offences of theft.
Swansea Crown Court was told that although he claimed he planned to repay the money and had taken it to cover his own debts, he had used some of it for a trip to London to watch the rugby.
In total, Goodman, of Kingfisher Road, Bridgend, stole £18,202.61 between August 2011 and April 2012. More than £16,000 of that was taken from one customer. He admitted the charges.
Prosecutor John Lloyd said he had employed "various methods" to take the money.
One way was to divert interest from customer accounts into his own account, or his wife's.
He also met customers acting as a financial adviser and they would hand over cash to be invested.
That money should then have been taken to the cashier desk to be banked, but instead Goodman would pay a fraction of the funds in, keeping some for himself and using other customers' accounts to make up the difference.
On another occasion, Goodman went to the Haverfordwest branch and pretended to be one of his customers and transferred funds.
"It seems matters came to light when a customer noticed irregularities on their account," said Mr Lloyd.
In his interview, Goodman said that during his divorce proceedings he had agreed to take on his wife's debt but had run out of credit lines to pay off the money.
In total he accessed 12 accounts, but three customers lost money. That has been refunded by the bank.
Georgina Buckley, representing Goodman, said her client had a long history of completing charity work. Since the offences came to light he had begun working at the British Heart Foundation.
"He says that is because he feels a sense of guilt about his involvement in these offences," added Miss Buckley.
She said he had between £15,000 and £18,000 of debt to pay off.
She said Goodman had also begun working part-time in Tesco and had arranged a loan from his mother to pay back the money to the bank.
Judge Paul Thomas said he wanted to consider his verdict and adjourned sentencing until Thursday. Goodman was remanded in custody.