Citi Accountant Accused Of Embezzling $19M

Jun 28 2011 | 12:25pm ET

A former accountant at Citigroup and self-proclaimed hedge fund consultant has been arrested and charged with stealing more than $19 million from the bank.

Gary Foster was arrested Sunday morning at New York's Kennedy Airport upon his return from a trip to Europe and Asia. Authorities say the former midlevel accountant embezzled more than $19.2 million between July and December of last year, spending the ill-gotten gains on a lavish lifestyle that included five luxury New York-area homes, including one with bathroom mirrors that doubled as video screens.

The 35-year-old divorcee, who also allegedly favored fast cars and was waiting on a Ferrari, pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn federal court yesterday. He is expected to be released on $800,000 bail.

Prosecutors said Foster transferred money from Citi's interest expense account and debt adjustment account to its main cash account, and from there onto his own account at JPMorgan Chase. Foster sought to hide the transactions with fake contract and deal numbers.

"The defendant allegedly used his knowledge of bank operations to commit the ultimate inside job," Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn, said.

Foster, whose salary at the bank was about $100,000, left Citi in January and, according to his LinkedIn profile, has moonlighted as a part-time hedge fund consultant since then. Citi uncovered his fraud during an internal audit a couple of weeks ago.

Foster faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

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