14 February 2021.
George Vrettakos, a former Commonwealth Bank (CBA) loan officer has pleaded guilty to stealing $3.75 million. He was caught falsifying loan documentation by the CBA in 2010. But the bank failed to report his case for about a decade. He went on to work at other financial institutions and the debt collection industry. The bank’s lack of action was exposed by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald in 2018.
Even after Mr Vrettakos made full admissions at the time, the bank did not report the theft to the police. The bank quietly sacked Mr Vrettakos and tried to force him to repay the money in 2010. The bank then obtained a civil court order freezing Mr Vrettakos’ assets and he signed an agreement agreeing to pay back $2 million of the stolen funds. He defaulted on the agreement. The bank did not report the crime even at this time.
The bank reported the matter to the police only in 2018 after The Age obtained copies of the internal investigation documents. The bank said that there was no financial loss to any customers or third parties. The financial loss was limited to the bank.
He also to agreed to provide information implicating other members of staff. He revealed to the Bank that insiders could easily circumvent bank’s compliance and monitoring systems to generate false loan statistics and create fraudulent accounts linked to the property assets of real customers.
One year prior to joining Commonwealth bank, Mr George Vrettakos was still serving out a bankruptcy. But the banks screening system did not detect this. Normally a person who served a bankruptcy would not be employed in the financial industry in a responsible position.
CBA has been compelled to set aside $375 million for covering fines it expects to face from a money laundering compliance scandal, as the ongoing scandals started to impact on the bank’s bottom-line.
The Age reported.