CRIME: New York-based Guyanese banker charged with US$1.7 million bank fraud

 Sunday, 11 April 2021

A  Guyanese woman, who lives in Queens, New York, has been accused of swindling the bank she worked at of US$1.7 million, according to the United States Department of Justice.

The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the unsealing of a criminal complaint charging Gangadai Rampersaud Azim also known as Julie Azim.     

She is accused of wire fraud, bank fraud, bank theft, money laundering, and conspiracy, for her role in a scheme to defraud her employer, a Manhattan-based bank, of approximately $1.7 million.  Azim was arrested last week and presented before United States Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As alleged, Gangadai Azim betrayed her position as a trusted bank employee to defraud the bank and misappropriate client funds for more than a dozen years.  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.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Azim’s alleged $1.7 million fraud scheme not only victimized her employer, but also risked the financial standing of the customers whose accounts she manipulated.  In the long run, defrauding a financial institution with the hope of making an easy profit only resulted in federal charges and the potential for time behind bars.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court:

Between August 2008 and January 2021, AZIM, a long-time employee of a New York, New York-based bank Bank-1 stole approximately $1.7 million from her employer.  Over the course of approximately 12 years, Azim executed hundreds of wire transfers of Bank-1 funds to co-conspirators and related companies, who then sent portions of the ill-gotten funds to Azim’s personal bank account.

In furtherance of her scheme to defraud Bank-1, Azim repeatedly made false entries in Bank-1’s systems, misappropriating funds paid to Bank-1 by its clients to satisfy outstanding loan obligations and then extending the maturity dates of those loan obligations, making it appear as though the loan obligations had not yet been paid.  When even the fraudulently extended maturity dates came due, AZIM originated new, fraudulent loans.  AZIM utilized the proceeds of those fraudulent loans to satisfy the loans for which she had previously stolen the client payments.  In doing so, AZIM abused her position at Bank-1 and enriched herself at the expense of her employer.

Azim’s fraud was discovered by Bank-1 when Azim took a leave from her position at Bank-1 as a result of illness earlier this year.  In January 2021, Bank-1 debited the account of a client of Bank-1 (“Client-1”) in order to pay off an outstanding loan obligation Client-1 had coming due.  Client-1 then alerted Bank-1 that the debit was improper, as Client-1 had, in fact, paid off that obligation in 2019.  Upon further investigation, Bank-1 discovered that while the funds had been withdrawn from Client-1’s account in or about 2019, Azim had misappropriated those funds, using them for purposes other than satisfying Client-1’s obligation.

As a result of identifying this discrepancy, Bank-1 officials discovered approximately 14 loan obligations (the “Fraudulent Loan Obligations”), worth more than approximately $1 million, for which no underlying documents existed.  Azim appears to have entered each of the Fraudulent Loan Obligations in Bank-1’s systems so that the proceeds could be used, in significant part, to pay off outstanding loan obligations coming to maturity; those loan obligations had, in fact, already been satisfied by clients, but Azim had misappropriated the payments.  In addition, Bank-1 officials discovered approximately five outstanding loan obligations, worth more than approximately $706,000, for which Azim appears to have extended the maturity dates, despite the relevant clients having paid off the loan obligations.

The approximately $1.7 million of loan proceeds resulting from the Fraudulent Loan Obligations and the improperly extended maturity dates appear to have been misappropriated by AZIM.  Over the course of approximately 12 years, between 2008 and 2020, AZIM caused approximately 200 wire transfers of Bank-1’s funds, each for an amount under $10,000, to be sent to third party accounts, including those of co-conspirators and related companies, which then returned portions of those funds to AZIM.

AZIM, 58, of Richmond Hill, New York, is charged in the Complaint with (1) conspiring to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; (2) bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison ; (3) wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; (4) bank theft, embezzlement, or misapplication, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; (5) conspiring to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and (6) money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI in this case.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Reilly is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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  • Linda  On 04/11/2021 at 12:07 pm

    Another blemish on our already sullied reputation.

  • WIC  On 04/11/2021 at 3:24 pm

    As the first and only manager of a bank to be robbed in Guyana (Oct. 06, 1970, RBC Kitty branch))and a retired employee of a bank in Canada, I find this woman’s behavior disgusting.

    Not only has she put a blemish on people of Guyanese heritage but she also disrespected those 25 in the financial world who lost their lives at the World Trade Center on Sep. 11, 2001. Sick or not, I hope she gets a good long stretch in jail.

  • wally n  On 04/11/2021 at 3:39 pm

    Hold……1970??? remember the motorcycle getaway that one??

  • Dennis Albert  On 04/11/2021 at 4:22 pm

    Embezzled bank transfers to build more seven storey malls in GT?

    • Georgy Porgy  On 04/11/2021 at 6:18 pm

      Some people cannot help themselves. It’s in their DNA.

      • kayume baksh  On 04/11/2021 at 8:08 pm

        Did you say they cannot help themselves?

      • Dennis Albert  On 04/11/2021 at 10:35 pm

        US$1.7M can build a nice ten storey mall or hotel downpayment in GT or Mahaica.

        US$1M for the piece of land and US$700,000 for the materials and labour imported from Chinese prison labour, and the rest owing to the Trinis.

  • Georgy Porgy  On 04/11/2021 at 11:11 pm

    Kayume….if you stop and think about what I wrote you will get where I’m coming from. It was the nicest way that I could put my comment since the buzz words these days is “politically correct”.

    • Dennis Albert  On 04/12/2021 at 12:13 am

      I don’t wanna get banned when the PPP complains, but I know what you talking bout.

      They want to emulate the barefoot Dubai people.

      Actually, in Islam, the End Times begin when the “barefoot and illiterate Bedouins start constructing massive skyscrapers”. This was mentioned 1,400 years ago.

      Most of dem PPP people want to bring End Times to Guyana.

    • Dennis Albert  On 04/12/2021 at 12:17 am

      The PPP voters theifing money to bring Dubai to Guyana, and fulfilling the Islamic end times in South America:

    • kayume baksh  On 04/12/2021 at 8:40 am

      Georgy, I did stop and did think about what you wrote. All I’m saying in effect is that this individual did help herself. Go figure: nothing written between the lines, everything on the lines.

      • Georgy Porgy  On 04/12/2021 at 10:13 am

        Yes the individual did help herself to the money but that’s not what I meant by “some people can’t help themselves”. It’s more of a cultural mindset that they’re born with. But I will not continue to argue with you because you obviously don’t get what I’m saying. Have a nice day!!!

      • kayume baksh  On 04/12/2021 at 12:10 pm

        No need to spoil our day any further. Have a nice day, too.

  • Morning star  On 04/12/2021 at 4:23 pm

    Greedy Guyanese woman, Guyanese people live for money. I bet she got her house and swimming pool on fake book .(•‿•)

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