Mr. Richard Montgomery, the assistant manager of Parker and Associates Accounting Firm, last week told Criminal Court ‘C’ that the five former employees of the First International Bank (FIB) on trial for multiple crimes, allegedly withdrew over US$2,979m and L$44,867K from the bank.
Mr. Montgomery, who testified as a special prosecutor’s witness, further alleged that they uncovered the syndicate when their entity was hired by the bank’s management to conduct an audit of its transactions covering the period of August 2012 to February 2013.
He said his entity was also required to find out whether or not withdrawals from customers’ accounts were done legitimately or authorized by an approving officer.
Testifying as prosecutor’s third witness, the financial expert further alleged that they discovered the illegal practices when they reviewed documents containing savings and checking accounts of 1,633 customers.
He said the defendants also used customers’ accounts that were dormant to withdraw the money from the bank.
The five defendants were among ten employees charged in connection with the alleged disappearance of US$4.4 million.
They are being tried on the commission of money laundering, theft of property, criminal conspiracy and facilitation and forgery, allegations which the defendants have denied.
Further in his testimony, Montgomery said, 44 persons, including tellers and approving officers of the bank were caught by their investigation, which the defendants were a part of.
“Our findings established that most of the suspected fraudulent transactions occurred without bearing the signatures of those making the withdrawals that would have authenticated the names of the customers or employees,” the prosecution third witness alleged.
He added: “Some of the withdrawal slips that we saw did not correspond with the money that appeared on some documents like bank statements, but were approved by the defendants.”
He said 74 % of the money was allegedly paid by four of the five defendants.
Explaining his investigation, Montgomery alleged that each of the tellers with assistance of the approving officers, made unauthorized payments to themselves contrary to the bank’s policy.
He said the bank has a policy which states that amounts greater than US$500 and L$35,000 should not be disbursed by a teller.
Unfortunately, he claimed, the defendants used their respective counters to make payments without the approval of management.