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ICICI: 'Bank manager stole $1.9m from single account'

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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-68...58

https://www.reddit.com/r/india/s/mdFs...CK

An Indian woman has accused a manager at one of the country's largest banks of defrauding her by siphoning off 160m rupees ($1.9m; £1.5m) from her account.


Shveta Sharma says she had transferred money to the ICICI Bank from her US account, expecting it to be invested in fixed deposits.


But she alleges that a bank official created "fake accounts, forged her signature, took out debit cards and cheque books in her name" to withdraw money from her accounts.


"He gave me fake statements, created a fake email ID in my name and manipulated my mobile number in the bank records so I won't get any withdrawal notifications," she told the BBC.

Ms Sharma and her husband, who returned to India in 2016 after living for decades in the US and Hong Kong, met a banker through a friend.


As the interest rate on bank deposits in the US was negligible, he advised Ms Sharma to move her money to India where fixed deposits were offering an interest of 5.5% to 6%.


She opened an NRE account meant for non-resident Indians on his advice after visiting the ICICI's branch in old Gurugram near the capital, Delhi, and in 2019, began transferring money into it from her US account.


"Over a period of four years from September 2019 to December 2023, we deposited our entire life savings of around 135m rupees in the bank," she said, adding that "with interest, the sum would have grown to more than 160m rupees".

She said she never suspected anything was amiss because the branch manager "would give me proper receipts for all the deposits on bank's stationery, regularly send me email statements from his ICICI account and sometimes even come over with folders of documents".


The fraud came to light in early January when a new employee at the bank offered to get Ms Sharma better returns on her money.


It was then that she discovered that all her fixed deposits had vanished. There was also an overdraft of 25m rupees taken on one of the deposits.

My husband and I were shocked. I suffer from an autoimmune disorder and I was so traumatised that I couldn't get up from bed for an entire week," she told me. "Your life is being ruined right in front of your eyes and you can't do anything about it."


Ms Sharma says she has shared all the information with the bank and held several meetings with top officials.


"At our first meeting on 16 January, we met the bank's regional and zonal heads and the head of the bank's internal vigilance who had flown in from Mumbai. They told us they accepted that it had been their fault, that this branch manager had cheated us.


"They assured us that we will get all our money back. But first, they said, they needed my help in identifying fraudulent transactions."

Ms Sharma and her team of accountants spent days going through the statements for the past four years. Her accountants then sat with the vigilance team to mark the transactions which they were "100% sure" were fraudulent.

"It was shocking to actually discover how the money had been siphoned from my account and where it had been spent."

ICICI in a statement quoted 

“Our customers are our utmost priority, and we are wholeheartedly dedicated to safeguarding their interests. In this case, too, we will ensure that the customer’s financial interests are protected. "

"In fact, we have communicated to the customer that we are ready to transfer the disputed amount of Rs 9.27 crore (she has already encashed a fixed deposit of Rs 2 crore) to her account with a lien, pending the outcome of the investigation."

Typically, we refrain from commenting on ongoing investigations.

However, in response to the insinuations raised in your queries, which you got from the customer, we would like to draw your attention to the following points: 

1) The Bank has consistently sent transaction details to her registered mobile number and email id since the accounts were opened a few years ago. It is bewildering that the customer claims to be unaware of these transactions and balances in her account over the past three years, and she only recently noticed a discrepancy in her account balance. This discrepancy ought to have been observed by the customer when filing Income Tax returns as well. 

2) She alleges that the mobile number and email ID of her account were changed without her knowledge. However, our records indicate that notifications regarding both changes were sent to her original mobile number and email address which were registered with the Bank. Furthermore, the new number is listed on the website of a company owned by the customer herself.

Furthermore, the new number is listed on the website of a company owned by the customer herself. Further, as an aggrieved party, we have lodged a complaint with the Economic Offences Wing (EoW) of Delhi Police for a thorough investigation into the matter which appears to be much more than meets the eye. We are extending full co- operation to the Police investigation.” 

Said ICICI Bank 

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Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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Frauds is much easier in Private bank because their employee work just for few years then shift to other banks or leave jobs. And they dont have PF or other Retirement benefits at stake.

I personally know many person working in private finance companies, who collect EMIs from customers in rural areas and dont deposit in their loan account. Then fraud takes many months to come in notice. By that time, they escape after frauding of 5-10 lacs. 

Benevolent Benevolent
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I recently complained to editors of a couple of newspapers of an increasingly bad practice of using millions and billions when referring to INR and population numbers. One of them replied back with an acknowledgement.

Since it is BBC, I can understand they used $1.9m and 160m INR because lakhs and crores are alien concepts to people outside the Indian sub-continent. 16 crores INR just seems so much easier to comprehend than 160m INR.

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Screenshot2024-02-26-15-37-05-301com.brave.browser

Benevolent Benevolent
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Ina statement sent to the BBC, the bank said they have offered to deposit
92.7m rupees into her account with a lien, pending the outcome of the
investigation.

ButMs Sharma has rejected the offer: "It's a lot less than the 160m rupees
they owe me and the lien would effectively mean the account would be
frozen until the case is closed by the police, which could take years."

"Whyam I being punished for no fault of mine? My life has turned
upside-down. I can't sleep. I have daily nightmares," she added.



Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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image

Desh ka naam kharab karne 

Deal Lieutenant Deal Lieutenant
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Koi na Bhai. Bas Chanda Kachra utha Raha tha.

Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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Frauds is much easier in Private bank because their employee work just for few years then shift to other banks or leave jobs. And they dont have PF or other Retirement benefits at stake.

I personally know many person working in private finance companies, who collect EMIs from customers in rural areas and dont deposit in their loan account. Then fraud takes many months to come in notice. By that time, they escape after frauding of 5-10 lacs. 

Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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Is there need of PF or any other incentive after such a big fraud.? 😛
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Like Magnet Like Magnet
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Just out of curiosity

Didn't they receive sms or email alerts?

Didn't they check their accounts via net banking or app?

Pro Tech Guru Pro Tech Guru
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BM Friend ka friend tha.

BM changed mail id and phone number using forged signature.

Kept sending fake statements.

Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Plenty such stories even with government banks. Al Jazeera conducted a sting operation on the Bank of Baroda employees where they found the bank’s employees had linked unauthorised mobile numbers to customer accounts that were missing a registered mobile number to onboard them on the bank’s new mobile banking app, bob World. These unauthorised mobile numbers were of bank staff, managers, guards, their relatives and bank agents in remote areas. Some of them stole around 22 lakhs ($27,000) from 362 customers, internal audit reports and records of the bank have revealed

Benevolent Benevolent
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There's a movie about this.
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Benevolent Benevolent
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I recently complained to editors of a couple of newspapers of an increasingly bad practice of using millions and billions when referring to INR and population numbers. One of them replied back with an acknowledgement.

Since it is BBC, I can understand they used $1.9m and 160m INR because lakhs and crores are alien concepts to people outside the Indian sub-continent. 16 crores INR just seems so much easier to comprehend than 160m INR.

Benevolent Benevolent
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I was typing this. But you beat me.

Also add to that ' hundreds of thousands of '  to be replaced by lakhs of.
Hundreds of thousands of people attended  the event.
Lakhs of people attended the event. <--- this is better.
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