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UPDATE 2-Ex-Citigroup VP Admits Embezzling over $22 Million

Tuesday, 06 Sep 2011 02:16 PM

 

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* Pleads guilty to committing bank fraud between 2003-2010

* Government requests sentence of between 8-10 years

(Adds specifics of total seized assets, Foster's statements in court and statements from prosecutor and defense lawyer)

By Jennifer Golson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former vice president for Citigroup Inc pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling more than $22 million from the company and funneling the money to his personal bank account.

Gary Foster, 35, pleaded guilty to bank fraud, admitting that he took the money between 2003 and 2010. He appeared in U.S. district court in Brooklyn before Judge Eric Vitaliano.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Yaeger said the government will request a prison sentence of eight to 10 years. Foster will remain free on $800,000 bail until he is sentenced.

Foster was arrested in June and at the time was charged with embezzling $19 million from the bank's accounts. He admitted in court Tuesday to taking more than $22 million, although his total seized assets were estimated at $16 million, Yaeger said.

The defendant, who worked for Citigroup for 10 years, said that between 2003 and 2010 he drafted emails and faxes directing the funds to his personal account.

According to the government, Foster first transferred money from various Citigroup accounts to Citigroup's cash account and then wired the money to his personal bank account at another bank. He concealed his thefts by, among other methods, making false accounting entries to create the appearance that the bank's cash account was in balance.

Foster used the money to buy real estate and luxury automobiles, including a Ferrari and a Maserati, the government said. Foster agreed to forfeit his interest in real estate and luxury cars, Yaeger said.

After the hearing, Foster's lawyer Isabelle Kirshner said the quick resolution came after they evaluated the government's evidence. "It was in his best interest to resolve this case as quickly as possible," she said.

U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement, "The defendant violated his employer's trust and stole a stunning amount of money over an extended period of time to finance his personal lifestyle." (Editing by Derek Caney and Steve Orlofsky)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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