New York -- Blomberg -- Gary Foster, a former vice president in Citigroup Inc. (C)'s treasury finance department, was charged with embezzling more than $19 million.
Foster, 35, was arrested yesterday at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport returning from Bangkok and charged with bank fraud, according to a statement today from U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in Brooklyn, New York.
He is accused of transferring money from various Citigroup accounts to the bank's cash account and then to his own account at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
"The defendant allegedly used his knowledge of bank operations to commit the ultimate inside job," Lynch said in the statement.
Foster is scheduled to make his first court appearance today. He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if convicted of bank fraud, according to the statement.
"These are obviously serious charges and we will undertake a serious investigation to defend our client," Isabelle A. Kirshner, Foster's lawyer, said in a phone interview.
Between July and December 2010, Foster, who worked for Citigroup in the Long Island City section of Queens, New York, caused about $900,000 to be moved from Citigroup's interest- expense account and about $14.4 million from its debt-adjustment account to the bank's cash account, according to prosecutors.
Then, in eight transfers, he caused the money to be wired out of the cash account into his personal account, prosecutors said. During the alleged fraud, which spanned from May 2009 to the end of 2010, Foster wired out of Citigroup a total of $19.2 million, according to the criminal complaint.
Foster caused a fraudulent contract or deal number to be put in the reference line of the wire-transfer instructions to make it appear the transfers supported an existing contract, according to the complaint.
"We are outraged by the actions of this former employee," Shannon Bell, a spokeswoman for New York-based Citigroup, said in an e-mail. "Citi informed law enforcement immediately upon discovery of the suspicious transactions and we are cooperating fully to ensure Mr. Foster is prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
Bell offered no further comment, citing the investigation.
The case is U.S. v. Foster, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
To contact the reporter on this story: Thom Weidlich in Brooklyn, New York, federal court at email@example.com.