In court, the defendant was accused of having diverted a total of 494,000 euros from his customers’ accounts to himself over a period of almost six months. After completely losing the money on online gambling sites, the Austrian reported himself.
Gambling addiction turns bank employees into criminals
The 31-year-old ex-bank employee is said to have diverted the money from a total of four customer accounts. So that the customers did not notice the lack of money directly, he changed the interval in which the customers receive the account statements in the banking system to “annually”. But shortly before the end of the year, the gambling addict noticed that the fraud would soon be exposed. By this time, however, the bank employee had managed to divest a total of 494,000 euros. He committed the fraud between May and September last year. There was then a full confession in court:
“I’ve been addicted to gambling for several years. To satisfy my addiction, I transferred the money from four customers to my account ”.
He then used the money to finance his gambling addiction. Primarily he used the stolen money to place online sports betting. But he also played other online games of chance until all the money was lost. In court, the father of two said that in some cases he had won a little more money playing games. A little later, however, this money was completely wasted again.
Two-year suspended sentence imposed
During these days the repentant man was on trial in Austria. The defendant’s attorney, Nikolaus Rast, demanded a mild verdict because his client was in an exceptional psychological situation at the time of the offense and had completely lost control of his gambling behavior. The lawyer sums up the case aptly: “You rarely experience something like this”.
The defendant’s wife even reported her husband to the police as missing after he had not come home for three days. Furthermore, after consulting a lawyer, the man addicted to gambling ultimately reported himself to the police. This should also be taken into account to mitigate the penalty.
The Vienna Regional Court finally sentenced the ex-bank employee to a suspended sentence of only two years. The judge largely followed the defense counsel’s statements and in her judgment positively emphasized that the defendant had just “got the corner”. The defendant has so far led a life free of punishment and is currently undergoing therapy to combat his gambling addiction.
The family man was ultimately convicted of infidelity. Due to the high damage, a “prison sentence of one to ten years” was required under Austrian law.
Section 153 of the Criminal Code states:
“Anyone who knowingly misuses their authority to dispose of someone else’s assets (…) and thereby damages the other person’s assets is punishable by imprisonment for up to six months or a fine (…). Those who do so have a (…) 300,000 euros causes excessive damage is to be punished with imprisonment from one to ten years ”.
It is unclear whether at least part of the money has already been repaid by the defendant. The four bank customers who were injured will get the money they lost back from the bank, as they are not to blame in this case. The convicted bank employee now has two new jobs. One minor on the weekend and one full-time on the week. His lawyer said: “He deliberately has nothing more to do with money there”.
Just a few weeks ago we reported about a man addicted to gambling who defrauded several banks for a total of 130,000 euros. In this case, however, it was the bank customer who defrauded the banks in lending.
The present case shows the extent to which gaming behavior can get out of control. The 31-year-old man became a criminal in order to finance his gambling addiction. Ultimately, he damaged his employer, in which almost 500,000 euros in customer funds disappeared. He then gambled away the money in online gambling. Now the man with no previous conviction has been sentenced by the Vienna Regional Court to a two-year suspended sentence. The judgment is already final. Of course, the man has lost his job at the bank.