Ex-Citi VP Accused of Stealing $19M

By Jonathan Dienst, Jim Forkin and Shimon Prokupecz
|  Monday, Jun 27, 2011  |  Updated 12:46 PM EDT
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Ex-Citi VP Accused of Stealing $19M

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A former Citigroup vice president was arrested at John F. Kennedy airport Sunday on charges of stealing more than $19 million from his bank.

Gary Foster, who had worked in the bank's Treasury Finance Department, is accused of wiring money from Citigroup accounts into his own personal Chase bank account.

U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said Foster made at least eight illegal wire transfers from July through December of last year.  The alleged fraud scheme operated from May 2009 through December 2010, according to the criminal complaint.

"The defendant allegedly used his knowledge of bank operations to commit the ultimate inside job," Lynch said.

The FBI said he tried to cover his tracks by making it appear the transfers were made as part of existing bank contracts.

"The egregious behavior of those who exploit our banking system for personal and criminal gain will not be tolerated," said New York FBI Director Janice Fedarcyk. "We remain committed to investigating and apprehending those who cheat the system."

Foster, of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., was arrested Sunday around 11 a.m. after getting off a flight from Bangkok. The criminal complaint said his alleged wrongdoing was first uncovered by an internal audit conducted by Citigroup.

A Citi spokeswoman, Shannon Bell, said the company is "outraged by the actions of this former employee."

Foster is expected to be arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn this afternoon. His attorney, Isabelle Kirshner, said he would plead not guilty.

If convicted of the fraud counts, Foster could face a maximum of 30 years in prison. 

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