Thursday, October 06, 2016

Jockeys advised to avoid high street banks after string of frauds

Jockeys in the UK have been advised to move their money out of High Street banks, after a string of frauds dating back more than two years. The Professional Jockeys Association issued the warning after saying an estimated £200,000 had been stolen from about 30 jockeys across the UK. The money had been withdrawn over the counter from cashiers, possibly using fraudulent documents, the body added.

The PJA said banks were "unwilling and incapable" of preventing the frauds. It said the crimes dated back to 2014, when about £50,000 was reportedly stolen from the bank accounts of several riders. The body, which represents British jockeys, said there had been another spate of the crimes later that year, and that frauds had been committed "on and off" since then. It did not name any of the jockeys involved but said they included some high-profile riders and that some horseracing trainers have also fallen victim. The PJA said its advice was backed by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the sport's governing body.

PJA chief executive Paul Struthers said that in all the cases money, often starting at about £800, had been withdrawn by someone walking into a branch of a High Street bank and managing to take out cash over the counter. He said the frauds had been committed in most of the major banks, often a long way from the home of the jockey, and in a number of different locations. Mr Struthers said the body was at a loss to understand how the fraudsters were managing to get the personal details of the jockeys. He said he suspected details had been leaked "from somewhere", but did not know where.

He said jockeys had been given the stolen money back, but criticised the banks for failing to prevent the frauds in the first place. As a result, the PJA's latest newsletter told jockeys the "only way to prevent the frauds from continuing is to move their current account banking off the High Street". Mr Struthers said: "The question we are struggling to understand is how they know where each of the jockeys bank and how they are getting access to the account. That is what is perplexing us." He added: "It has just got to the stage now where between us and the BHA we have realised that a combination of the incompetence or the unwillingness of the banks to deal with it means the only advice we can give jockeys is to get off the High Street."

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