I will start telling a few of these stories and hopefully will draw some simple conclusions from each one.
The first I encountered was in my new job starting the marketing research department at Bank of America in the early 1960s. The bank had a very good personnel policy and made every effort to give me a broad grounding in banking.
I was put on a committee to investigate a recent embezzlement from the bank.
The bank's first female manager, Dolly Gee, was discovered to be embezzling.
Because many Chinese still living in Hong Kong and China had great confidence in an organization with the name Bank of America, there were many large Chinese deposit accounts at the Chinatown branch where Dolly was manager.
Since most of these accounts had no activity, they were considered dormant. A very common condition for bank accounts held by overseas customers.
Dolly had begun gambling with some of her own money. After losing far too much she began taking small amounts from these dormant accounts. Like many gamblers she believed she could win enough to repay the borrowings.
This went on for several years before the bank’s audit department noticed the peculiar activity in the dormant accounts. Ordinarily the bank would be charging a fee for a dormant account but these dormant accounts actually showed activity just before the dormant charge would have been applied. The state of California later prohibited such fees on dormant accounts.
You can look at an article here that gives a very different story about Dolly Gee’s embezzlement. It looks like her lawyer helped her come up with a heartwarming story to get a very light sentence. My story is accurate.
The lesson for me has always been to be cautious of financial employees who gamble. Additionally, any dormant money gets top priority for auditing, if I have anything to do with it.