HBOS Reading criminal fraud saw its day in court
Earlier this year jurors convicted Lynden Scourfield, a former HBOS manager in Reading, and his associates, four men and his own wife, of defrauding business owners out of £245million; collectively sentenced to almost 50 years in prison.
Lynden Scourfield convinced customers to use consultancy firm, Quayside, led by David Mills; Quayside then took control of their businesses, plundered their accounts and authorised huge loans they could never hope to pay back.
As reward for his referrals, David Mills provided Lynden Scourfield with lavish gifts, trips on his £2million superyacht and wads of £4,000 cash, nicknamed ‘funny money’, some of which they spent on luxury trips and sex parties.
Nikki and Paul Turner were just two of multiple victims whose lives were torn apart by the scam. Nikki and Paul approached HBOS for a small loan to fund their music publishing company in 2003 and found themselves caught up in a nightmare which crippled their business, their family life and suffered the stresses of no less than 22 attempts by HBOS to evict them from their home.
The scam ran at the Halifax Bank of Scotland from 2003 until 2007, shortly before it was rescued by Lloyds and saved by a £20.5billion taxpayer bailout. Eighteen months later the takeover by Lloyds revealed irregularities and lack of oversight in the loans department, and a two-year investigation – codenamed Operation Hornet – was launched by Thames Valley Police.
Scourfield, Mills and the four others were arrested in 2010 and charged in 2013.
We at Personal Guarantee were aware of the issues surrounding the matter since 2009 and it certainly helped us to significantly mitigate any personal guarantee claims that came out of that region.
What we did not know at the time, and have only become aware of in the last two and a half years, is that without the tremendous effort and at great personal cost of Paul and Nikki Turner the matter would never have seen the light of day in the criminal courts and we have much respect for their super-human efforts and the SME Alliance organisation they have been so instrumental in forming.
6 June By Mel Loades