Two RBS bankers found guilty of a property fraud worth £3m are walking away without jail time because the judge believes they have already “suffered” as they were “embarrassed” by the incident.
Despite pulling in salaries of over £100,000 a year each, the two RBS bankers decided they’d treat the RBS mortgage portfolio like their own personal piggy bank. Raymond Pask and Andrew Ratnage set up a string of fake companies in the names of Pask’s relatives, which they used to apply for mortgages. The pair would use the money to buy and renovate homes in order to sell them for a profit. Over a period of five years, they swindled more than £3 million – buying properties in London, Essex and Kent.
The case has taken four years to come to court, giving the men time to payback their loans. Judge Rebecca Poulet QC said, along with the embarrassment they have expressed, this is punishment enough:
“I have no doubt that both of you have suffered in the time it has taken this case to come to court.”
You were in effect greedy. You were acting in a breach of trust. It was sophisticated and sustained and to an extent involved others – the nominees of the companies.
“The public must be discomforted by hearing the details of your criminal conduct. But it did not involve loss to your employers and the actual risk was at least limited.
“You have expressed shame and embarrassment at what you have done – as well you might.”
Ratnage received a 20-month sentence suspended for two years and 300 hours community service, while Pask was given an 18-month suspended sentence and 250 hours of community service.
Factors the Judge appeared to take into account included:
- Pask’s marriage collapsed when his crimes were uncovered.
- Ratnage has suffered from poor health including diabetes.
- Pask had his pension pot reduced to £120,000 – he claims this makes him “financially ruined”.
While able to render such compassion to privileged bankers who looked to fleece their own company to line their pockets – our poorest citizens get no such consideration.
Pete Woodcock – this Scunthorpe man received a 40% cut in benefits after he was diagnosed with cancer, leaving him in serious financial distress during his battle with a disease that killed his father and brother. To add insult the injury, the DWP told him that he could return to his previous level of benefits, provided he gave up treatment and complied with the Jobseeker’s programme.
Linda Wootton, 49, was on 10 medications a day after a double lung and heart transplant. She was weak and suffered regular bouts of blackouts. She was put through the Atos Work Capability Assessment and as she lay in a hospital bed dying, she received confirmation she was ‘fit to work’. She died just nine days later. Her husband Peter said:
“I sat there and listened to my wife drown in her own bodily fluids. It took half an hour for her to die; a woman who is apparently fit for work”.
Brian McArdle, 57, had been left paralysed down one side, blind in one eye, unable to speak properly and barely able to eat and dress himself after a stroke on Boxing Day 2011. Despite this, he was deemed ‘fit to work’ by Atos. He died of a heart attack the day after his benefit payments were stopped. His thirteen year old son Kieran told the Daily Record:
“Even though my dad had another stroke just days before his assessment, he was determined to go…He tried his best to walk and talk because he was a very proud man, but even an idiot could have seen my dad wasn’t fit for work.
Colin Traynor, 29, suffered from epilepsy. He was deemed ‘fit for work’ by Atos and forced to enter a lengthy, bureaucratic process to appeal the decision – during which his benefits would be frozen. He did not live to see the result of his appeal. Five weeks after his death, his family received the news that his appeal was successful. Too late for Colin. His father Ray said:
“I firmly believe – 100% believe – that the system this government introduced has killed my son.”
None of these people had the luxury of six figure salaries year in, year out, or six figure pension pots. None of them acted out of greed. None of them committed a crime. All they asked was for what they were due under the law, and the state treated them like fraudsters. Meanwhile, real life fraudster are pitied and pardoned.
We can do so much better than this.
Don’t Get Angry, Get Involved!
You can transfer your account away from banks like RBS, so why don’t you? Move Your Money show you which banks are the most ethical and how to switch.
You can support groups like Disabled People Against Cuts, and the Black Triangle Campaign who are putting up one heck of a fight against government cuts to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
You can roll your sleeves up and join groups like The People’s Assembly and Occupy London who are actively re-imagining our world – how could we organise our society, economy and political systems so that they really worked for us all?
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