Banker jailed for stealing client’s Dhs1.2m - GulfToday

Banker jailed for stealing client’s Dhs1.2m


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Hamza M Sengendo, Staff Reporter

A bank employee who siphoned Dhs1.2 million from a customer’s account was on Sunday sentenced to five years behind bars to be followed by deportation.

The Arab defendant, 42, was working at the Dubai branch of an Abu Dhabi-based bank when he abused his fiduciary duties to steal a cheque from the chequebook of a British customer, prosecutors revealed on July 16.  He illicitly prepared the cheque, filled in Dhs1.2m and faked the customer’s signature on it. He deposited it in a Dubai-based bank in favour of a travel company he owed some Dhs600, 000 pertaining to ticket deals.

Upon his request, the travel company handed him Dhs400,000 in cash and wired the remaining Dhs200,000 to a general trading company. He spent the sums on his personal needs and fled the country, records showed. A Sudanese anti-fraud officer said, “The customer told me he always dealt with the defendant whenever he came to the bank. He would sit in the defendant’s office to sign his transactions and related cheques.

“He would place the chequebook on the defendant’s table. Sometimes he would go to the washroom leaving the chequebook and his mobile phone on the table.” The defendant plucked out the last cheque. He processed it but it bounced due to discrepancies in the signature. He scraped the signature and fixed another one before submitting the cheque again. The sum was deducted from the customer’s account.

“We contacted the travel company about it and learnt it was the defendant who deposited the cheque in their account to meet obligations pertaining to tickets purchase deals,” explained the anti-fraud officer. Investigators landed on a book in the defendant’s office drawer containing signatures similar to that of the customer. This was an indication that he repeated it several times to master it before signing the cheque. In police and prosecution records, the customer complained that he was in Britain when he received an SMS that Dhs1.2m was withdrawn from his account. He contacted the defendant who told him there was an error. The defendant reassured him the money would be returned to the account. It was returned. Six days later, the customer received a similar SMS and the defendant told him it was an error. He reassured him again.

The customer relaxed leaving the defendant to handle the situation. A period later, the customer went to pay his credit card obligations and discovered that the defendant did not return the Dhs1.2m to the account.

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