May 7, 2021
Fraud Friday – New York Banker Uses Paid Off Loans to Conceal Fraud
“Gangadai Azim betrayed her position as a trusted bank employee to defraud the bank and misappropriate client funds for more than a dozen years,” says U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. “She allegedly stole more than $1.7 million and concealed the scheme until an absence from work led to its discovery. Now Azim faces the prospect of a much longer absence from work.”
According to court documents, between August 2008 and January 2021, Azim allegedly executed hundreds of wire transfers from the bank where she worked to co-conspirators. Those co-conspirators then laundered the funds and transferred them back to Azim’s personal bank account.
To conceal and further the scheme, Azim allegedly made numerous false entries in the bank’s system to make it appear as though the missing funds were actually just client loan obligations that had not yet been paid. To do this, she extended the maturity dates of those loan obligations and originated new fraudulent loans when the extended maturity dates came due.
Earlier this year, Azmin took a leave of absence from work due to illness. While she was away, the bank debited a client’s account in order to pay off an outstanding loan obligation that was coming due. The client immediately alerted the bank that the debit was improper since the loan had been paid off in 2019. Upon further investigation, the bank discovered that while the funds had been withdrawn from the client’s account in 2019, Azim had misappropriated those funds, using them for purposes other than satisfying the client’s obligation.
Upon identifying this discrepancy, bank officials discovered approximately 13 other loan obligations with no underlying documentation and 5 outstanding loan obligations for which Azim appears to have extended the maturity dates, despite the clients having already paid off their loan obligations.
Azim has been charged with conspiring to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, embezzlement, conspiring to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Investigation is ongoing.