Victim of romance fraudster Mark Acklom won’t receive back from bank any of stolen £750k

A woman fleeced by conman Mark Acklom has lost a battle for compensation from the High Street bank he used to steal all her money.

Carolyn Woods had argued that because a Barclays staff member and a former employee were arrested during the police investigation on suspicion of conspiracy, though they were not charged, the bank had failed in its duty of care to her as its customer.

The bank has told her, after a six-month internal investigation, it won’t pay her a penny of the £750,000 she lost.

The crimes of conman Mark Acklom

Ms Woods was duped in a romance scam by serial fraudster Acklom, who wooed her and promised to marry her, telling her he was a wealthy Swiss banker called Mark Conway and a secret MI6 agent. He was jailed four years ago and is now free.

Acklom had persuaded Ms Woods to move her money into a Barclays account and then got her, under his coercive control, to transfer it all in a series of ‘loans’ into the account of an associate who was a former Barclays employee.

Ms Woods transferred up to £30,000 a day into the associate’s account, money Acklom told her he needed during a temporary cash flow crisis. Some of the cash passed through the account of a Barclays account executive.

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From September: Carolyn Woods demands £750k back

The female account executive and the male former employee worked in the same department at Barclays. They were questioned by detectives and freed on bail for many weeks.

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Police told Ms Woods that the Crown Prosecution Service was considering charging both of them, but they were eventually released without charge and the former Barclays employee became a potential prosecution witness after claiming he, too, had been under Acklom’s coercive control.

A Barclays investigator has told Ms Woods: “In terms of your concern that the fraud was committed with assistance of the Barclays Account Executive, our investigation has found no evidence to support this concern, nor any evidence that suggests there were any efforts by any member of Barclays staff to prevent any suspicious transactions from being flagged either to you or the bank.”

It added: “Whilst we can empathise with your situation and how hard this must be for you, and notwithstanding the fact that the fraudster was later convicted, our original decision remains the same and we will not be considering any reimbursement.”

BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout file photo issued by Avon and Somerset police of Mark Acklom, 45, a serial conman. The serial fraudster jailed after defrauding an ex-girlfriend out of £300,000 has failed in a bid to be transferred to a foreign prison. Issue date: Tuesday July 13, 2021.
Pic: Avon and Somerset Police

Ms Woods, said she was disappointed by the Barclays response and was considering her options.

She said before asking for Barclays’ help: “I put my faith in the criminal justice system, but it has failed me. It just works in favour of the criminal and really doesn’t give much consideration to the victim at all.”

Acklom, who is now 50, is living in Spain with his wife and family, and is the subject of a UK police Proceeds of Crime Act investigation to discover the value of his assets. A final court hearing is set for next week.